Dik Zak points us to this NASA page about a new generation of intelligent Earth observation satellites. From the article: "The Indonesian volcano Talang on the island of Sumatra had been dormant for centuries when, in April 2005, it suddenly rumbled to life. A plume of smoke rose 1000 meters high and nearby villages were covered in ash. Fearing a major eruption, local authorities began evacuating 40,000 people. UN officials, meanwhile, issued a call for help: Volcanologists should begin monitoring Talang at once. Little did they know that, high above Earth, a small satellite was already watching the volcano. No one had told it to. EO-1 (short for "Earth Observing 1") noticed the warning signs and started monitoring Talang on its own. Indeed, by the time many volcanologists were reading their emails from the UN, 'EO-1 already had data,' says Steve Chien, leader of JPL's Artificial Intelligence Group."
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