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Space

Satellite Captures Burning Man From Space 141

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the from-here-i-can-see-everything dept.
MikeCapone writes "A European Space Agency satellite has captured what has become one of modern society's most hedonistic adventures: Burning Man. Taken about 400 miles up, the picture shows Black Rock City in full swing along with all of its 50,000-something attendees. ESA compiled the photograph using four photos, each with a resolution of about 16 feet. " The ESA has a high resolution version of the image available.
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Satellite Captures Burning Man From Space

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  • I just hope that one day we can improve our satellite resolutions to the point where we can make out an individual hemp shirt, or maybe even an individual blonde dreadlock.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      After I saw the picture I was quite disturbed that it was a High Resolution magnified image. It is like saying that when you use Google Earth to zoom into your house you go I can see my house from space.

      I was thinking that this event was so big that it could be seen with the Unaided Eye (well the aid of air and pressure) from space. No it is just a zoom in picture.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        You can see pretty much anything "from space". Find yourself a strong enough lens or a low enough orbit, and "I can see my house from here".

      • The human eye can distinguish detail of about 0.017 degrees (20/20 vision). "Space" is commonly defined as 100km up. A bit of trig tells us to see something from space with the unaided eye, it must be 1.7 kilometers across. Black Rock City is roughly twice that according to the only map I could find with a scale. It will be a little black dot to be sure, but if you're going to go with a silly "bigness" standard you may as well know it passes.

        Personally, a week-long event with 50,000 attendees says "big"

        • by Kreigaffe (765218)

          Hell, when I went to Bonnaroo (back when it was still awesome, many years ago; heard its kinda commercial and filled with kids on senior trips these days..), I believe it pulled in twice that number, for 4 days.
          And there were no geriatric gay guys sans pants, either.
          Also I saw Neil Young and James Brown there. And Garage a Trois, which was actually the best show of the whole thing..
          Burning Man, more like Second-Rate Man.

          • by jcwayne (995747)

            And there were no geriatric gay guys sans pants, either.

            Then why bother?

          • by a-yz (1974868)

            Comparing Bonnaroo to Burning Man like this is like saying "I've never had sex, but I watched soft porn on a movie channel so I win". If you had ever gone (you obviously haven't) you may honestly have hated it, but you wouldn't even consider making that kind of comparison.

            • by Kreigaffe (765218)

              The comparison was more of a numbers thing -- I do know they're only tangentially related (by large numbers). I've no intentions of going to Burning Man, because I *would* hate it, but that's just me.. I was the dude at Bonnaroo who hung out at his tent reading Kafka instead of going to see the Dead play; I'd probably drive 10,000 people away from Burning Man.

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Meh, it's smaller than the Radiological Society of North America annual conference.

        • by ComaVN (325750)

          You've confused grade with degrees.

          0.017 degrees @ 100km is about 30 meters

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        Google Earth uses airplanes for the really closeup stuff. Sats just can't resolve that much due to range.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm sure the CIA can by this point. It's been known for years that they can resolve a grapefruit sitting on the ground from space, I'd be shocked if they hadn't bettered that by now.

      The bigger problem with that tends to be one of manpower, it's great to be able to zoom in like that, but only after you've determined the area to be interesting. And often times it's just more convenient to use a UAV anways.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        often times it's just more convenient to use a UAV anways.

        But not as cool. And that's [esa.int] one cool looking satellite. The Borg couldn't have designed it any better.

        • often times it's just more convenient to use a UAV anways.

          But not as cool. And that's [esa.int] one cool looking satellite. The Borg couldn't have designed it any better.

          The Borg surely would have made all sides equal length.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        not sure about Satellite photos - but the U2 was the best last time i saw anything released -.. during the Cuban missile crisis they where able to read number markings on wires going into the consoles near the launch pad.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        That's why night time and infrared work so well. If you can remain focused on a particular area and use computers to track the movement of heat sources over time and their clustering points and compare them with daytime appearance and use of a particular site. Of course this rely on the magic box only strategy as what looks like a group of suspected maybe terrorists clustering at a suburban house prior to a raid, can actually be a wedding party, with typical US military homicidal results.

        What we really w

      • by jc42 (318812)

        I'm sure the CIA can by this point. It's been known for years that they can resolve a grapefruit sitting on the ground from space, I'd be shocked if they hadn't bettered that by now.

        Yeah, if by "resolve" you mean "show as one or two pixels". A common guideline has been that at visual wavelengths, you can't resolve things on the ground to better than about 10 cm, due to atmospheric effects. This is the same phenomenon as stars twinkling, but in the other direction. Resolution is better at IR frequencies, so if the CIA is resolving license plates (or faces) from orbit, that'd be how they're doing it.

        But it's a lot more likely that they're doing it with flying cameras inside the atm

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:12PM (#37330218)
    There are easier ways to see pictures of naked hippies.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:13PM (#37330222) Homepage Journal

    It's the only way to be sure to get rid of those damn hippies - Eric Cartman

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you don't take the time to figure out what a Burning Man is, the headline by itself is quite perplexing and intriguing.

    How is this man burning in space where there is no oxygen? And what does the satellite do with this man after capturing him?

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Well, if you use the internet to a great degree and don't live under a rock, surely you've heard about Burning Man. Especially if you regularly browse Slashdot.

      Or you could hit Google.

      • Unless you're just going off of the initial information gleaned from the title to determine if the rest is worth reading. (i.e. the classic science literature parsing strategy: read the title, the abstract, the conclusion, and occasionally the rest of the paper...). My first impression was perhaps one of the international space station workers did a jumper and someone else took pics. It's just a fraction of a second, but sometimes the brain has to catch up to itself - Google not needed.

        I think the parent

    • by drpimp (900837)
      My first thought was that they captured the man from Tunisia on fire in this image.
      • Within a half-second of seeing the title I knew they were talking about the Burning Man festival. But for some tiny sliver of time in there, I thought they had recorded video of an astronaut burning up on re-entry from space.

    • by Beorytis (1014777)
      Even though I'm familiar with the Burning Man Festival, I didn't instantly read it correctly. It's almost a "Crash Blossom [wikipedia.org]."
      • by bjohnso5 (1476817)
        Yep, based on the headline my first thought was "... how did a burning man get into space in the first place, and what possible benefit could this satellite reap by imprisoning him?". Then my brain turned back on. Still, silly headline.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        "Crash blossom", that's a new one for me. Reminds me of "mondegreens". Both these linguistic phenomena have names derived from an actual intance. I wonder if there's a name for that linguistic phenomenon, and I wonder if it derives from an actual instance of that phenomenon.

    • by Pope (17780)

      Ever seen "Moonraker"? This is exactly the same.

  • Have you seen that satellite?
  • Its the Borg!

    They've come to assimilate us into their hive mind/economic system.

  • Geesh!
  • the best place to see burning man....is in fact SPACE...so well played ESA

    on the other hand why are we letting these bitches take sat photos of our strategic reserve of filthy hippies??

    • I've got to admit, that had me concerned as well.

      With such a satellite, the Europeans can count the number of hippies we have. Then they can generate more hippies than us!

      Mr President, we cannot have a hippie gap!

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:18PM (#37330338) Homepage Journal

    Is anybody else a little shocked that that photograph is shot at 16ft (4.8m) resolution? I'm assuming they mean 1:16 or 1 pixel to 16 ft. That seems like the sort of resolution you might get from a stop end film spy satellite from the 1960's. I would have figured that we would be down to 1m or 0.3m (1ft) resolution by now.
     
    Or are public images severely degraded to not give away the more obscure pros and cons of their imaging systems at actual resolution? The pictures of the moon landers seemed awfully crisp compared to this, although one was flying at 24km (presumably with a much smaller camera) vs a geopolar orbit at (searches wikipedia) 1000km. Also presumably with a much larger camera.
     
    What's average resolution these days for satellite imagery? That seems awfully low.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This was not a normal satellite. This is a micro-satellite called proba-1. This is why the resolution is relatively low compared to what you can get elsewhere. http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Proba_web_site/index.html

    • What's average resolution these days for satellite imagery? That seems awfully low.

      Those are my feelings exactly about the Huygens Probe images of Titan. What is it with these european space cameras?

    • Yeah I've seen places on Google Earth that are a few inches per pixel, even back in the early days before Google had their quadcopters. But I suppose those could have been aerial photography vs. satellite images.

  • I'm not normally the type to point out grammatical mistakes made my posters, but I feel like the articles should be a tad more scrutinized before published.

    FTFA: "Keep in mind that Burning Man looks a lot different from space then it does up close. "

    I mean, come on guys...that's 3rd grade stuff there.

    • I'm not normally the type to point out grammatical mistakes made by commenters, but I feel like the comments should be a tad more scrutinized before published.

      FTFC: "mistakes made my posters, "

      I mean, come on guys...that's 3rd grade stuff there.

  • and the NSA has an even higher-resolution image.

  • Seriously...anyone care about burning man? Most are just a bunch of wannabie hippies.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      That raises an interesting point, to what extent does reasonable expectation of privacy apply to satellite imaging?

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        If you can be observed, you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and can be photographed. The direction and distance don't matter.

        (Unless you're a police officer doing your job poorly, of course.)

        • by hedwards (940851)

          One has a reasonable expectation of privacy in ones own backyard typically as well as in the portion of the property directly around your house.

  • Here I thought a Satellite had finally captured an alien humanoid who had lit himself on fire (a common tactic for avoiding ninjas (src: http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/4p15/) [drmcninja.com]).
  • I am sorry I had to ask...

    • by jfengel (409917)

      I don't ordinary point out typos or spelling errors, but sheesh, dude, you REALLY stepped in this one.

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:37PM (#37330640)
    I have seen many subdivision layouts that looked just like this. Has Burning Man gone the way of Desperate Housewives?
  • He must have been on some serious shit to be burning in a vacuum.
  • by Tyger (126248) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @02:46PM (#37330800)

    http://www.geeked.info/burning-man-2011-geoeye-satellite-image/

    I can't believe the 16ft resolution image is getting so much press, when the 0.5m resolution image is so much better, and was announced ahead of time (And scheduled, as you can see from people forming shapes in it).

  • ... the satellite sent "Thank you for not including an odor sensor in my analytics package."

  • by pz (113803)

    One of the things that makes small hardware a ton of fun to play with is the ability to develop code with a simulator that can show far more detail than is available on the real hardware.

    Will you have a highly instrumented simulator available?

  • ...after being retrieved from the satellite, Johnny Storm was unavailable for comment.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:22PM (#37331264) Journal

    XKCD [xkcd.com]

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Wednesday September 07, 2011 @03:28PM (#37331338)
    The headline was enough for me. Anyone who skydives from an altitude where they can burst into re-entry flames, and be caught by a satellite is just nuts!
  • The question is: Did they get permission to use that camera from the Burning Man officials ?

    Look, I like the root idea of BM, the whole transient art-city-building concept, but the net result is always a bunch of hippies acting friggin' weird. And the money, ZOMG the money - both to get a ticket (which buys you fuckall), and the effort and resources spent to build art installations - only to be torn down a week later. Why can't they just build a permanent hippie city somewhere so they can live the way the

    • Look, I like the root idea of BM, the whole transient art-city-building concept, but the net result is always a bunch of hippies acting friggin' weird.And the money, ZOMG the money - both to get a ticket (which buys you fuckall), and the effort and resources spent to build art installations - only to be torn down a week later. Why can't they just build a permanent hippie city somewhere so they can live the way they want to live, do their silly little spirit dances and make love to Gaia or whatever, and we i

      • by billcopc (196330)

        Been there. Done that. Criticizing what I experienced firsthand. But thanks for playing...

        Some of the stuff is amazing, like the massive wire structures and what I can only term "functional art" like the ones you can climb into/onto. Then everything else is indeed tired out hippie/raver crap and countless naked poi enthusiasts. I find the event attracts a handful of narrow niches of people that quickly get repetitive and irritating. Sure, after a day or two you settle in with a few like-minded partici

        • Been there. Done that. Criticizing what I experienced firsthand. But thanks for playing...

          Oh, you're one of those. Go, have a bad time while never contributing anything, and then bitch about it for years even though your complaints have little relevance any more.

    • Compare this to car racing. For a typical SCCA single-race weekend, you pay about $300 for your entry fee. That money buys you access to the facility ... approximately the same "fuckall" available at Burning Man. You bring your race car, food, water, fuel. You participate in the event - most events require one or more representatives from your team to volunteer as corner workers, timing & scoring, tech inspection, etc. At the end of the event, you pick up your stuff and leave. I have friends who t
    • by 2short (466733)

      "The question is: Did they get permission to use that camera from the Burning Man officials ?"

      Since they aren't attendees, why would they need to? Burning Man can put whatever conditions on attendance they like, but why would they have any authority over the ESA?

      As far as why do Burning Man attendees spend all that time and money on something that isn't what you think would be cool: because it's their time and money and they spend it on what they think is cool.

      Also, I know about a dozen Burning Man fans, a

  • How did a burning man get into space? I assume he has an on-board oxygen supply to allow for this combustion to happen in a vacuum?
  • Well maybe I'm just being picky, but for me high resolution version must be at least as large as resolution of mainstream screens at that given time and I must say that I was sadly disappointed by the pixel count of the so called "high resolution version of the image" given in the summary.
  • You can see it here [google.com]. They even have an airfield, and the GMaps image captures a plane in the process of taxiing or landing. I wouldn't have guessed that many hippies owned aircraft.

  • ... the shark that Burning Man jumped had already jumped another shark. IMHO, Burning Man stopped being somewhat relevant about the time that Wired magazine stopped thinking that tiny lime green text on an orange background was hip.

    • by a-yz (1974868)
      How relevant Burning Man has or has not become depends on your values. If one values the raw "tribal" anything goes aspect, that's mostly gone compared to what it was. If one values art structures and vehicles and post-apocalyptic style clubs and raves (with lots of alcohol everywhere) all in a very unique context, Burning Man is turning the knob to an 11.
  • Right, the title is misleading... I had never heard of this event before.

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