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Watching Earth from Space

How Surveillance Helps Us -- and Harms Us

Norris, Pat

jointly published with Praxis Publishing, UK

2010, XX, 284 p.

A product of Praxis
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Heidleberg / New York, 2 March 2011

Watching Earth from Space: How Surveillance Helps Us – And Harms Us

New book examines the benefits and dangers of imaging from space

Satellite technology positively impacts many people every day – weather satellites tracking a snowstorm or thunderstorm or GPS directions while driving. Yet, in a new book, Watching Earth from Space: How Surveillance Helps Us – And Harms Us, Pat Norris examines the benefits and the potential pitfalls of our planet being monitored by hundreds of military and civilian satellites.
Does imaging from space invade our privacy? Will satellites tell us how bad climate change and global warming are and whether the world has enough fresh water? Why can’t the military’s satellites find Osama bin Laden? Watching Earth from Space strives to answer these questions about the impact of satellite technology.
Watching Earth from Space also:
• Explains the power, limitations, and possible threats posed by satellite imagery.
• Recounts the politics, economics, and science driving the growth of imaging from space.
• Shows how the effects of global warming and climate change are revealed by imaging satellites.
In addition to the essential monitoring performed by satellites - such as mapping natural or man-made disasters, improving crop yields, monitoring weather and climate change to name a few - there is growing public opinion that they are being used by governments to erode personal privacy and freedom. Watching Earth from Space looks at the possible conflict between public good and market forces, and the future development of new systems to deal with new needs.
About Pat Norris
Watching Earth from Space derives from the author’s unique experience of being part of the team that developed Europe’s first and Japan’s latest generations of weather satellites, of using satellite images to monitor the UK potato and sugar beet crops, and of helping to define the use of satellites to monitor global change and prevent nuclear war. Pat Norris’s direct access to politicians, civil servants, technologists, and both military and civilian users of space images worldwide has also proved essential to the accuracy of the story told in this book. This is the natural successor to Pat Norris’s book on the origins of spy satellites: Spies in the Sky (Springer-Praxis, 2008), which told the story of the first military satellites to monitor the Earth.

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