10 ways that satellites helped you today
Even though they're in orbit hundreds or even thousands of kilometres above us, satellites are part of our everyday lives, whether we know it or not. Here are 10 ways they've played a role in your day—and these are just the tip of the iceberg!
Eating your bowl of cereal in the morning
Farmers use radar satellite images to determine the best time to irrigate their fields and harvest their wheat. As the grains in your cereal were growing in the field, satellites were probably looking on from above.
Watching the game on TV
To get from the arena to your TV screen, footage of the match is transmitted by satellite signal. Because of space, you get to cheer on your favourite team during a power play from the comfort of your living room. He shoots, he scores!
Calling your mother on a satellite phone
You're in an expedition deep in the woods and you know for a fact that your mom is worried sick? Use the ranger's satellite phone to give her a courtesy call and reassure her a little!
Posting an Instagram story
In Canada in , there were over 525,000 satellite high-speed Internet subscriptions. Your story may have zipped through the stars before reaching your friends.
Paying for your latte with your bank card
Ever asked yourself how money is transferred from your bank account to a merchant's cash register? Probably not. When you use your card, a satellite link is established between the business and your bank. Space makes it possible for you to get your caffeine fix without having to stop at the ATM!
Finding out the weather before you hit the slopes
Satellites collect tons of data on temperature, precipitation, cloud movement and wind direction. When that data is analyzed, weather can be predicted (even if the forecast isn't always perfect).
Tracking your friend Alex's flight in real time
To obtain their precise position in the sky, airplanes transmit a signal to a constellation of satellites. With these coordinates, air traffic controllers can ensure the safety of flying aircraft, and you can figure out what time to go pick up Alex at the airport.
Crossing the bridge to go have dinner at your aunt's place
You'd do anything for a family dinner. But does that include plummeting into the river as you go over the bridge? Not a chance. Good news: Engineers use satellites to monitor ground movement as well as road stability and bridge structure, leaving you free to enjoy the ride.
Collecting information on the ozone layer
From orbit, satellites have a comprehensive view of the Earth, its atmosphere and its various ecosystems. Canadian satellite SCISAT alone gathers data on more than 40 atmospheric gases. This data is freely available to students and researchers around the world, and that includes you.
Going with Vinita to that "super cute bistro that just opened up"
Lost in the city? Even from 20,000 km up, satellites from the global positioning system (GPS) network can pinpoint your location. The signal they receive from your GPS allows you to see exactly where you are on a map, and that will help you get to your destination. The Vikings used the stars to guide their way, and you can too—but with satellite technology!
- Satellites in our everyday lives
- Canadian satellites
- International satellites supporting disaster management
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