Much like donning a pair of magical X-ray spectacles, DigitalGlobe's recently-launched high-res imaging satellite WorldView-3 can see straight through things like smoke -- to identify what's really happening on the surface of the Earth. While WorldView-3 will create images that are twice as detailed as Google Maps, it also has other tricks up its sleeve -- like a shortwave infrared sensor which can see through clouds and smoke.
Just like in this image, which shows before-and-after imagery of a California forest fire. The results are dramatic -- and it's hoped that making detailed images like these public could eventually help firefighters tackle the blazes and save lives too. [Digital Globe via Engadget]
Picture: Digital Globe