When student Alex Pietrow photographed Jupiter with a Game Boy, it was just a matter of time until a new satellite came around. Beating NASA to the punch, British companies Earth-i and and Surrey Satellite Tech built a complete and total gem. At only 100 kilograms, the CARBONITE-2 can capture HD images of Earth — in color!
We can collect up to 50 frames per second which is a lot of information,” Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i [said]… “That allows us to stack the individual images and increase our effective resolution, achieving somewhere around 65 centimeters to 75 centimeters [25 to 29 inches].”
What makes the seemingly perfect machine even more impressive is that it’s just a prototype. Yes, it’s successor will be far more advanced, sending images back in mere minutes.
“The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and our lives on Earth,” Josef Aschbacher, director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency (ESA), said.
Sure, HD satellites may seem trivial, like enjoying a film in 720p instead of the usual 360. But hey, if the world won’t be holding up for much longer, a pretty good selfie wouldn’t hurt.
Since the UN drafted its resolution to allay plastic waste, various superpowers have been succeeding its proposal. Among the campaigners is the European Union, which hopes to produce materials that are fully recyclable by 2030.
“If we don’t do anything about this, 50 years down the road we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans … we have all the seen the images, whether you watch [the BBC’s] Blue Planet, whether you watch the beaches in Asian countries after storms.” [said Dutch diplomat Frans Timmermans.]
Bearing in mind that plastics take 500 years to break down, making them entirely reusable is a smart move. To kick off, the EU is looking to tax single-use plastics, aiming to recycle 55% of materials within 12 years. Versatile, recyclable product designs will help keep oceans comparatively unsoiled.
“More and more it is becoming a health problem because it is degrading, going to little chips, fish are eating it and it is coming back to our dinner table,” said European Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen.
As Europe produces over 25 million tons of plastic waste a year, any start is a good start. The Blue Planet waits for no one.
You know ocean plastics are getting out of hand when beach resorts use them to decorate. According to the U.N., enough is enough. To put an end to plastic pollution, the U.N. Environment Programme drafted a resolution signed by 200 partner countries.
“There is very strong language in this resolution,” [said] Norway’s environment minister, Vidar Helgesen…
“We now have an agreement to explore a legally binding instrument and other measures and that will be done at the international level over the next 18 months.”
Projected to host more plastic than marine life by 2050, the ocean could use a helping hand. The new resolution hopes to slash the eight million tons of plastic that end up tossed every year. Participating countries are aiming to abolish “useless” plastic products such as straws.
“While this is not a treaty, significant progress is being made … 39 governments announced new commitments to reduce the amount of plastic going into the sea,” said the chief of public advocacy at UNEP, Sam Barrat.
Change, like any other, will take time. But at least we’ll no longer be risking plastic chunks in seafood platters.