Observing and Researching the Earth's Surface

Everything even down to the smallest detail on the Earth's surface could be detected from the space station using such powerful telescopes. Thus, we could receive optical signals sent from Earth by the simplest instruments and, as a result, keep research expeditions in communication with their home country, and also continually follow their activities. We could also scan unexplored lands, determining the make up of their soil, obtaining general information about their inhabitation and accessibility and, as a result, accomplish valuable preliminary work for planned research expeditions, even making available to these expeditions detailed photographic maps of the new lands to be explored.

This short description may show that cartography would be placed on an entirely new foundation, because by employing remote photography from the space station not only entire countries and even continents could be completely mapped in a simple fashion, but also detailed maps of any scale could be produced that would not be surpassed in accuracy even by the most conscientious work of surveyors and map makers. Land surveys of this type would otherwise take many years and require significant funding. The only task remaining then for map makers would be to insert the elevation data at a later date. Without much effort, very accurate maps could thus be obtained of all regions of the Earth still fairly unknown, such as the interior of Africa, Tibet, North Siberia, the polar regions, etc.

Furthermore, important marine routes at least during the day and as far as permitted by the cloud cover could be kept under surveillance in order to warn ships of impending dangers, such as floating icebergs, approaching storms and similar events, or to report ship accidents immediately. Since the movement of clouds on more than one-third of the entire Earth's surface could be surveyed at one time from the space station and at the same time cosmic observations not possible from the Earth could be performed, an entirely new basis should also result for weather forecasting.

And not the least important point is the strategic value of the possibilities of such remote observations: spread out like a war plan, the entire deployment and battle area would lie before the eyes of the observer in the space station! Even when avoiding every movement during the day as far as possible, the enemy would hardly be successful in hiding his intentions from such "Argus eyes."

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