As China launches next-generation satellites, they’re using the technology to arrest illegal marijuana growers.
As reported by the Chinese state media, authorities managed to find the largest marijuana farm on record in the provinces of Jilin and Inner Mongolia during a nation-wide satellite survey. They also managed to find several opium poppy fields, and a number of illegal cross-border tracks along the Chinese-North Korean border.
This was all possible due to the launch of China’s first high-definition satellite, the Gaofen-1. One of six high definition satellites that are planned to be launched by 2016, the satellites are designed to provide near-real-time observations for disaster prevention, climate change monitoring, mapping, and environmental and resource surveying. That all said, it’s only expected that the Chinese would want to use the satellites to crack down on illegal activities. With the Gaofen-1 having the ability to identify objects as small as two meters (6 ½ feet) in length, authorities would have no trouble identifying cars or even some people. You might just want to reconsider sunbathing of your roof.
Just this month, China launched the Gaofen-2 which has an even higher resolution camera, and is able to identify objects no larger than one meter (3 ¼ feet) in length. With the satellites eventually forming a world-wide network, the Chinese will be able to track whatever and whoever they want at nearly any given time. One satellite will even be able to provide images on the entire planet in roughly four hours.
While the idea that satellites are circling the Earth, taking in our every movement is an unsettling thing, the idea itself isn’t new. Both the United States and Russia launched a series of spy sattelites through the duration of the cold war, and continue to do so to this day. Heck, even the commercial sattelites that provide image to Google Maps might be looking at you at any given time.