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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Space companies are trying to grow a market for the massive amounts of data beamed back from satellites each day.
The big picture: It's cheaper than ever to launch Earth-observing satellites to space, making it easier to collect large amounts of data from orbit.
"There are very few industries out there that wouldn't in some way benefit from this kind of data. ... How do we make that an efficient and effective process to make that happen? And there's no magical answer to that, but it is going to take a lot of different companies trying different things."— Krystal Wilson of the Secure World Foundation
What's happening: Companies collecting data from orbit are now offering processing and analysis of it in an effort to expand their revenue and customer base.
What's next: Some companies are attempting to gather satellite data from different sources and make it easily available to a wide variety of users.
Yes, but: Satellite companies by and large are interested in catering to big government contracts and other large corporations with deep pockets over making their data accessible to the masses, at least for now.
The bottom line: Companies collecting and analyzing Earth-observation data will need more than just government contracts to grow a sustainable market.
A newly announced project called TruSat uses crowdsourced data to track satellites in an effort to hold companies and nations operating in space accountable.
Why it matters: Space junk is a growing concern for those in the space industry, as companies plan to send thousands of satellites to orbit in the coming years.
What's happening: Today, governments and other organizations are trying to create standards to help limit the amount of space junk produced in orbit.
How it works: Instead of relying on information from governments or companies and tracking data from the U.S. Air Force, TruSat will use data collected by people on the ground observing satellites from their own backyards.
Go deeper: The coming cost of moving satellites
A star (left) and the Large Magellanic Cloud (right) seen by TESS. Photo: NASA/MIT/TESS
The Breakthrough Listen project announced it will search for signs of intelligent alien life on planets discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
Why it matters: This collaboration will allow the project to add more than 1,000 possible worlds to its list of SETI targets.
Details: Breakthrough Listen is expected to use telescopes around the globe to scan worlds discovered by TESS for radio signals.
Yes, but: It’s not going to be easy to pick up radio signals from a world circling a star that’s light-years away from Earth.
The backdrop: Scientists have yet to find a true Earth twin out there in the universe, and current technology isn’t equipped to do so.
The X-37B after landing in Florida on Oct. 27. Photo: USAF
Secret Air Force space plane lands after more than 2 years in orbit (Scott Neuman, NPR)
Virgin Galactic soars in its stock exchange debut (Jackie Wattles, CNN Business)
Star-struck SpaceX fans are in a league of their own (Jeff Foust, Space News)
Ozone layer hole shrinks to smallest size since discovery (Rebecca Falconer, Axios)
NASA mission to map water ice on moon's south pole for the first time (Orion Rummler, Axios)
There's no shortage of Halloween-themed space photos, but perhaps the best ones represent things that are truly spooky out there in the universe.
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