Introducing a ‘Space Station Safari’ for Conservation

Nature World News
22 April 2015

Experts have some new plans for the International Space Station (ISS), and they have absolutely nothing to do with space, exploration, or even astronauts. A new investigation will be using the uniquely high vantage point of the orbital space station to help track animals in trouble – the results of which could improve conservation strategies around the world.

The plan in question boasts the science fiction-esque name the “ICARUS Initiative,” with the mythological acronym standing for International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space. It will reportedly established a remote network of satellites that will use the ISS almost like a universal hub for various satellite ‘safari’ projects.

However, unlike your traditional safari, these long-range observations of animals down on Earth won’t simply be used for pretty pictures.

“For example, bird migrations are a mind-blowing phenomenon,” Meg Crofoot, an anthropologist at the University of California in Davis and an executive board member of ICARUS, said in a statement. “Despite more than 100 years of systematic research, we don’t know the routes many of these species take, where they stop along the way or even how often they survive the arduous journey. Understanding the individual decisions made by these animals can provide insight on the behavior and evolution of animals in the wild and perhaps even assuring their continued existence.”

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