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Hyperspectral Imaging And Anthrax – Early Detection?

January 28th, 2014 No comments

hyperspectral-in-spaceFortunately for the world, there have really been no serious and wide ranging anthrax attacks (that we know of, anyway) in quite some time. This is certainly not to say that the threat of it is gone – in fact, if there’s one thing that is known about the terrorist mind, it’s that the more the public ignores or forgets about a threat, the more terror organizations embrace it. This is something I fear a lot lately, as biological weapons seem to have taken a back seat in the mind of the public. Instead, what we get are NSA reports claiming overreach, despite the fact that we do not really know or understand just how many attacks have been stopped or avoided because of this system.

Is Early Detection Possible?

One of the things that always interests me is early detection. I will admit that the NSA has clearly made massive strides in terms of overall “intent detection”, in its grand net of cell phone calls, emails and texts, I often wonder if it is possible to detect significant amounts of anthrax, particularly from space using satellites. I mean, satellites can do a lot more than they could a mere five years ago, so why not fit them with some kind of device that could actually detect large amounts of anthrax. What’s more, does this device exist?

Well, the answer is, yes. That device is known as hyperspectral imaging – or a hyperspectral imager, if you want to know the name of the actual device that does the detection. See, what hyperspectral imaging does is analyze the electromagnetic field of an object (or objects, sometimes collected over a large section of land, as an example), and of course detect a signature (these devices do far more than that, but for our purposes, this works). Every compound is going to have its own identifying signature, of course, and naturally anthrax does as well.

The result here is that rogue governments that are attempting to hide large amounts of bio-weapons should probably give up the game right now – we’re on to you. There are no doubt hundreds of military satellites that could be equipped (if they aren’t already) with hyperspectral imagers looking for dangerous weapons right now.

Of course, it’s an interesting thought. Definitely something to think about and be aware of.