This might be a useful birding tool

Rolan Nelson rnbuffle at
Fri Mar 29 21:11:00 PST 2002

I liked the part about the 5 to 10 grams the best!
Paul Moorehead <pjm at> wrote: a little premature for April Fools I think....

Scott Ray wrote:


> This system appears to have a lot of possibilities...But will birding be any

> fun when we can know in advance where all the birds are?


> ++++++


> LONG BEACH, California (API)--Scientists on Friday excitedly unveiled what

> they call the ultimate weapon in the fight to preserve endangered species.

> The excitement surrounded the launch of the DNA Remote Sensing Satellite

> (DNARS) from an ocean platform in the south Pacific. The satellite settled

> into orbit over the equator on Saturday, after a rocket boosted it into

> space from a South Pacific seapad the day before. Controllers aboard the

> Odyssey Launch Platform, sitting on the equator about 1,400 miles (2,253

> kilometers) southeast of Hawaii, said the Saturday liftoff of the US-built

> Atlas rocket went flawlessly, carrying DNARS into orbit. Over the next few

> weeks, the satellite will be nudged into its permanent geostationary orbit.


> According to Matthew Spassvogel of Great Britain's Royal Society of

> Ornithologists, and one of the main supporters of the system, technology

> onboard the satellite takes advantage of recent advances in the

> understanding of DNA, the genetic blueprint of all life. "This is

> extraordinarily significant," said Spassvogel, vice president for endangered

> species monitoring. "This satellite system is the cornerstone in furthering

> our understanding of the environment." Onboard sensors will detect every

> occurrence of DNA matching that of known samples extracted in the

> laboratory. This translates into the ability to detect and geographically

> map every individual of a given species from space, says Alyesheva

> Mentiroso, lead NASA scientist on the project. "Such detail is

> unprecedented in the world of population studies," said Rees Lange of the

> World Wildlife Group. A delighted Rees went on to say, "The system will

> allow real time mapping of species of which, until now, we could only guess

> about their distribution and population." According to project scientists,

> the resolution of the system is limited to organisms with individual mass

> greater than about 500 grams. Future versions may allow detection of

> species as small as 5 to 10 grams, near the theoretical limit of the

> technology according to Mentiroso. A species' distribution can be

> accurately mapped in about 24 hours, with mapping precision equivalent to

> current Global Positioning System data. The consortium is working with a

> number of environmental groups to prioritize a list of species for the

> initial round of mapping.


> American ornithologists are hoping that one of the first uses of the system

> will be to learn the fate of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, long believed

> extinct until a possible recent sighting in Louisiana.


> The wider community, however, failed to share the enthusiasm of scientists.

> Moments after the announcement, the National Home Construction Association

> (NHCA) called DNARS a blatant attempt to put them out of business. "If this

> project is successful," bristled Wyr Uhskamm, president of the NHCA, "real

> estate development will grind to a halt, jobs will be lost and severe damage

> to the US economy will result. This is a clear example of environmentalist

> wackos out of control."


> Asked what impact she thought DNARS will have on the economy, NASA's

> Mentiroso refused to speculate, stating only that the potential wealth of

> data will revolutionize species management.


> In theory, this technology will make possible direct observation of

> individual persons by law enforcement agencies, as well. By Saturday

> afternoon, civil liberties groups were cautiously warning that this is

> effort is another threat to personal privacy. However, William Espia,

> spokesperson for the National Association of Law Enforcement Organizations,

> released a statement saying, "Only persons with something to hide need worry

> about this technology."


> The satellite will be positioned over the equator at approximately 90

> degrees west, allowing it to view the entire western hemisphere. The second

> satellite in the system, to be positioned over the eastern hemisphere, is

> slated for launch later this year. Other partners in the consortium include

> USGS High Island Wildlife Research Center; the World Wildlife Protection

> Fund of Sao Paulo, Brazil; RSC-DPA of Moscow, and KL Yuzhnoya/PS Yuzhmasti

> of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.


> Scott Ray

> Yakima

> scray at

Rolan Nelson
Burley, WA
rnbuffle at

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