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Science minute with Dr. Sarah: 5 things that would happen if satellites stopped working


Uploaded on October 2, 2020


Science minute with Dr. Sarah: 5 things that would happen if satellites stopped working

2020-10-02 – Whether or not we realize it, satellites play an important role in our lives – every day. Dr. Sarah Gallagher, the CSA's Science Advisor, explains five things that would happen if all satellites stopped working.

This video was not recorded professionally. Sound and image quality is as good as possible. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

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Doctor Sarah Gallagher: Hi, I’m Doctor Sarah Gallagher. Both space and cats are super popular on social media. And so putting them together is awesome.

So now that I’ve got your attention, I want to talk to you about why space is really important, and what would happen if satellites stopped working. Here are five things that would happen:

Number one, you could lose access to internet, cell phone and even banking services. What? This actually happened a few years ago. There was a glitch in the Anik F2 Canadian communications satellite that left thousands of Canadians in Northern Canada without access to these essential services.

Number two, less precise weather forecasting. Satellites are essential for accurate weather forecast, and this means more than just what you should wear to work. It also means what you have to worry about on the roads, if you have to worry about a power outage. And for some people, it’s really essential. The airline and the shipping industry, they depend on accurate weather forecast to avoid storms and stay safe.

Number three, no GPS. And that doesn’t just mean that you might not find that cool new restaurant you want to check out or you might be late to your first job interview. It’s also important for pilots, because without air traffic control, there might be major delays and cancellations.

Number four, slower response to those in need. When floods and earthquakes happen, search and rescue teams depend on the information from satellites to get to those people in need. And without satellites, it would take much longer to get to the affected people.

Number five, delayed delivery of materials to Northern communities. Ship captains depend on the information from satellites to learn about the sea ice. Without this information, they risk getting jammed up and damaging their ships, which could prevent them from delivering food and other essential supplies to Northern communities.


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