Now that unmanned surveillance and attack drones hovering over foreign and friendly skies the world over has become almost commonplace, the Pentagon is looking to add another eye in the sky for big brother. The Defense Department’s research arm DARPA, is developing a satellite that would capture real time imagery from space. Project MOIRE (Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation) would fit spy satellites with camera lenses nearly 60 feet wide. DARPA argues that because there aren’t enough drones or other aircraft providing real time imagery and current satellites only take still photos, such a project bridges a national security gap.
According to Universe Today, each MOIRE satellite would cost $500 million and would cover an area of more than 100 km by 100 km. DARPA hopes the device would be able to track a vehicle moving up to 60mph, which would require a resolution so fine it would be able to see objects a mere 10 feet long in a single pixel.
While the satellite is of course, purported to be used to detect missile launchers, one only has to wonder how many organizations like the NSA, CIA, or FBI would love to get their hands on. Given the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the U.S. Government the right to detain American citizens and recently released FBI documents which highlight the agency’s interest in prosecuting animal rights activists as terrorists, we can only wonder how long before MOIRE satellites end up keeping an eye on the average citizen.