I wanted to ask about the system described in the following scenario...
A villain has built a system consisting of a telescope connected to a computer that runs some autonomous object recognition software. The villain's goal is to catalog all man-made satellites circling the earth, so that he can attack them from his secret base on the ground.
This is a stationary (but can be relocated, if needed) system, located in some desolate area sufficiently far from artificial light sources (but not necessarily on a particularly high altitude). It passively monitors all objects that pass over it and can use multiple steps to gain more information about an object after it recognizes it as a man-made satellite. The steps would be something like this:
- recognize the stars, planets, and the moon (so as to avoid cataloging these and for self-awareness of own location)
- recognize airplanes based on the lights on them (so as to avoid cataloging them)
- recognize objects that are not of type #1 or #2, i.e. something that is potentially a man-made satellite. These objects would be recognized by e.g. the object traversing (nearly)the same path in the sky at about the same time as once before.
When the system recognizes an object as a potential satellite, it would beam some radiation or laser on it so as to make it briefly more visible on some wavelength. The sensors on the system would then record how it looks like (in the particular wavelength) so as to catalog it more definitely.
The aim of the villain is to catalog the satellites of the country he considers his enemy. So this means that the system would have to be able to recognize satellites sufficiently well so as to differentiate what country they belong to. To some degree this would compare the found satellite to public data (such as is available for e.g. weather satellites).
On another hand I am not yet sure if it would be possible to differentiate country X military satellites from country Y military satellites, when no photos or other data may be available on the military satellites.
The questions I wanted to ask are:
- Would something like this be feasible?
- Approximately how large a telescope would the villain need?
- Would the system have to be located in specific part of the world to be able to recognize polar orbit satellites?
- Is there a way to make some far-away object more visible (in some particular wavelength) by e.g. shooting a laser at it?