Amateur Space News April 16, 2014

Today’s headlines include a human security alert based on satellite images, a contest to find new satellite imaging applications, web apps for planet hunters, and an ISS experiment built and operated by high school students.

The Satellite Sentinel Project issued a human security alert based on satellite images provided by Digital Globe. The images show mobilization of the Sudan Armed Forces in the Nuba Mountains in southern Sudan. The number of troops and types of weapons Digital Globe identified suggests that Sudan may attack the Sudan Revolutionary Front, neighboring South Sudan’s army. The Enough Project’s sources on the ground report that the Janjaweed has reformed. The combination poses a serious threat to the civilian population.

European Space Imaging and Skybox Imaging will crowdsource new ideas for using satellite images through the Copernicus Masters contest system. The winning idea must find a creative use for Skybox’s ability to image the earth 5-7 times a day. The award will be €20,000 worth of satellite images for the best idea. (Via Directions Magazine)

An article in The Conversation highlights two planet-hunting apps written by the Automated Planet Finder’s scientists. Systemic has been around for a while as a downloadable app. The web app Systemic Live (free registration required) uses a simpler interface to let you find exoplanets using the Doppler method. Super Planet Crash lets you build your own solar system and see if the planets stay in stable orbits.

ECN Magazine’s recap of experiments going to the ISS includes the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment. Built in part by students in Hunch, the High Schools United with Nasa to Create Hardware program, the astronauts will mount the HDEV experiment outside the station. The students will operate the experiment which tests four commercial video cameras in the space environment. According to a Nasa presentation (PDF) on the Technical Report Server the four cameras include the Toshiba IK-HR1s, Sony FCB-EH4300, and Hitachi GV-HD30 industrial cameras and the Panasonic AG-HMC150 professional camcorder. Nasa could save money by using commercial cameras rather than the space-rated technology the agency uses now. 

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