Satellites

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Our Eyes in the Sky When asked what the most important object today is, most people would probably say “smartphones” or “computers” or “ice cream.” While these may be important, they are definitely not the most important. By far, satellites are the most important objects today. Most everything, including smartphones and computers, are present today because of satellites and have capabilities such as Wi-Fi and 4G because of the role satellites play. Even Socrates, who lived centuries before the first satellite, realized the importance of a view from space when he said, "Man must rise above the Earth…to the top of the atmosphere and beyond…for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives." According to NASA, a satellite is a moon, planet, or machine that orbits a planet or star. For example, Earth is a satellite because it orbits the sun. Likewise, the moon is a satellite because it orbits Earth. Usually, the word “satellite” refers to a machine that is launched into space and moves around earth or another body in space. Thousands of artificial, or man-made, satellites orbit Earth. Some take pictures of the planet that help meteorologists predict weather and track hurricanes. Others are used to connect various devices such as computers, TV’s, and phones. Still others provide internet and GPS. There are even some that are used as spy satellites and weapons against other countries. The bird’s-eye view that satellites have allows them to see large areas of Earth at one time. This ability means satellites can collect more data, more quickly, than instruments on the ground. Additionally, satellites don’t have to deal with interference from Earth’s atmosphere because they orbit earth in space outside of the atmosphere. Because of this, satellites can see into space much better than telescopes at Earth’s surface. A satellite works by receiving radio signals sent from the Earth and resending the radio signals back down to the Earth. In a simple

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