Farmers have been using GPS-tracking to better organise their fields for a while but now they have a new god who watches them from space: Satellites that tell them exactly what they need to make perfect crops.
RapidEye is based in Germany but they have a view of the entire world thanks to their fleet of five satellites. Using spectral analysis, they can tell any farmer, anywhere in the world how to best manage their land without ever leaving the office.
Each individual satellites focuses on a specific band of the electromagnetic spectrum; by compiling this data, RapidEye can determine the fertility of any plot of land in the world (so long as there aren’t any clouds). They then relay this information to their clients who range from cotton farmers in North Carolina to wheat producers in Kazakhstan. Using the images provided to them, farmers can then determine exactly what fertilizer to spray, where to spray it, and how much to use.
Science fiction writers have always fantasized about farming in space and while this isn’t the same as importing Martian carrots, it still boggles the mind to think how far we’ve come from scattering seeds and praying for rain. [IEEE Spectrum]