Beam me up! (A Red Cross Science Lesson)

“If the whole world catches on fire, at least we know that the satellites are safe.” These are the sorts of things Red Cross volunteers say when they are showing off new technology. Today, several staff members were invited to learn how to set up a high-tech satellite dish. The dish, which fits inside your average suitcase, is a vast improvement over the past technology that filled an entire FedEx van. To learn more about this dish, I asked our volunteers the following.

Q: So … what is it?
A: High-speed Internet satellite dish

Q: How does it work?
A: It transmits Internet data up to several satellite dishes.

Q: How does the Red Cross use this?
A: During a major disaster, the Red Cross may need to open an operations center at the disaster site. This dish provides Internet access that allows hundreds of people to work at once using the same dish. It makes communications necessary to work in a large-scale disaster.

Q: Why is this cool?
A: In the past when there was a disaster, the equipment was large and cumbersome (and/or we had to rely entirely on radios and set up phone lines). Now we just have a box to carry with us on emergencies. And once we set it up, we’re ready to communicate!



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