Satellites to pick up algea bloom outbreaks from outer space

Stian Olsen

At the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, small satellites are being built for marine surveillance, which will monitor algae bloom along the coast, warning farmers when the dreaded “red tide” is on its way.

Technical Weekly Magazine has reported that SmallSat Lab, a group of 20 students and eight PhD scholars at NTNU in Trondheim who run the university’s spacecraft program, could potenially revolutionise the way farmers detect lethal algal bloom with space moniteering systems.

The video below demonstrate how the satellite will spring into action when an algea approaches.

The satellites will communicate with a range of underwater, sea and drone vehicles.

The satellite, which “wakes up” when its over Norway, is equiped with a hyperspectral camera which registered wave-lenghths and images with color shades that are invisible to the naked eye.

SmallSat will then scan an image of the upcoming algae. Once confirmed, it’ll collaborate with drones who in turn will communicate data within a 50km radius thanks to a range of air, sea and underwater support vessels to see if it’s the deadly kind.

In effect, this will enable salmon farmers to put in emergency requirements such as halting the salmon feeding process so that the fish remain deep in the cages while the algae bloom passes over.

Two solar-powered SmallSat satellites will be circulated in orbit around the globe by 2020.


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