Can you visualize the possibility of being capable of tracking the movements of millions of animals on Earth with the help of a satellite from outer space?
It may sound impossible, super advanced and unlikely to happen, but this is exactly what a team of scientists are hoping to achieve with the help of a satellite powered from the International Space Station (ISS).
The International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space (ICARUS) initiative is driven by the objective of tracking the migratory patterns of tiny animals, including bats, insects and birds. This will allow scientists to develop a stronger understanding of when, why and how these small animals make long journeys across different countries and even different continents.
The animals will be made to wear a tiny thumbnail-size transmitter, which will allow the recently installed satellites aboard the ISS to record the exact geographic locations of the animals, along with the temperature and the direction of their migratory patterns. The astronauts who are working on this project, Oleg Artemjew and Sergej Prokopjew, had to work for more than seven hours to make sure the satellite successfully installed on the ISS.
The scientists are hopeful that the data gained through these satellites will provide insightful results to understand where migratory birds make their eating and drinking stopovers through the journey, and how the weather conditions and environment impact their travel routes and their survival rates.
It is considered that this study can offer substantial insight to either prove or disband the theory that birds are able to identify the occurrence of natural disasters long before they happen and they travel for great distances to avoid earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, amongst other natural disasters.
If this satellite is effectively launch, the scientists will begin tracking the animals this fall.