0
$\begingroup$

If someday Aliens decide to invade and annex earth from the strategical point of view it would be effective to cripple our space scanning and orbital communication instruments. Why?

First off Aliens can see that the whole of earth at night is one brightly lit up planet no matter wherever you are. They also have noted that the Americas and Asia lie on the opposite side of the globe and both are pretty brightly lit. So they decide that 'Whoa! these people live across the entire surface area of their planet. These guys must be able to communicate somehow across the miles of water that lies between them.' So the alien (lets call him the General) thinks and suddenly hits a brainwave that the shiny, metallic, solar powered things in orbit around the planet are communication devices. And the General, being the general, orders his elite sabotage team to destroy any object in space which is receiving radio waves, microwaves or other EMR stuff from earth. Of course that includes all of our poor satellites which transmit some of our most important data like commercials, HBO, News, Torrents, Spy information etc.

Right now just after the general gave orders for all orbital scum to be blew up and cleanse the orbit for mobilizing his army. Situation on earth is bad. No TV, no Internet. Poor humans are cutoff flight crash those few which make it safely don't know what's happening. The people who are on ground are unaware why are they getting no internet despite the fact that they paid their last bill just yesterday. In this case:

  • What kind of protocol (If it exists) is supposed to be observed given any such untoward event happens

  • If there is no such protocol how do I design a protocol or some kind of parallel to a state of emergency that it seems realistic

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Satellite communications are used for Internet links only in desperate situations when nothing else is available. Most people, most of the time, do not access the Internet using satellite links. If the Great Powers notice that all their satellites go kaputt at the same time I'm afraid that the only available protocol will be the time-tested method: "when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream, and shout". $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 10 '17 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ I can't help but agree with AlexP: when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Jan 10 '17 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ Undersea cables carry far more data than satellite. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jan 10 '17 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ I am not sure what you are asking. First of all you are very wrong about how integral satellites are, secondly, you give a specific example of satellites, but your question is about "any such untoward event" so it's hard to know what you mean. Can you clarify your question? Do you have a specific scenario in mind that you want a protocol designed for? Or do you want to know if there are already protocols for this a specific scenario? If it's not specific, what kind of guidelines could I use to know what you mean? "event" could be many things, in your context, 4 storms at once could be one. $\endgroup$ – Inbar Rose Jan 10 '17 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ The US Air Force would know that something very very very bad happened, almost instantly: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Space_Surveillance_Network and would be sending out notifications to the rest of the US government and NATO. $\endgroup$ – John Feltz Jan 10 '17 at 14:53
7
$\begingroup$

Most information is NOT carried by satellite.

You have a fundamental misunderstanding about the volume of information carried by satellite communications. Satellites have relatively small transmission bandwidth and are used mostly for specialist cases, like DirectTV, or internet connection for ships at sea. Easily 99% of all internet traffic is carried by cables on land or undersea. This includes most of the applications that you have mentioned (HBO, torrents, etc).

The one satellite application most likely to be involved in safety is GPS. Commericial airlines in flight are required by law to maintain an alternate means of navigation. It is worth noting that there were no commercial applications of GPS at all before the mid-eighties, and yet jet airliners flew all over the world with no problems. While forcing all in-flight aircraft to switch from GPS to alternate navigation at the same time will significantly increase the chance of accidents, it will certainly not result in the loss of all planes in flight.

Conclusion

Loss of all satellite will be more inconvenient than catastrophic. Though an increasing number of things depend on the power of GPS, and satellite communications in general, mankind survived without them as little as 20 years ago, and would undoubtedly survive going forward.

The military of many nations would be significantly chagrined by the loss of ALL satellites, but for the world at large, this isn't so much of a catastrophe that it requires a 'protocol' to deal with.

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ However, the inability of an entire generation to find their own house without a GPS feed... that could be a real catastrophe! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jan 10 '17 at 14:58
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon Thats why I always keep a sextant in my trunk. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Jan 10 '17 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ I always leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind me so I can find my way back... $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Jan 10 '17 at 19:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.