Satellite Card Game

Satellite Card Game
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Most Earth observation satellites are designed for a specific purpose. This has an impact on the design of the sensors, particularly the wavelength(s) of radiation they respond to, and the orbit of the satellite. Many satellites are platforms for several different sensors and, if that is the case for the satellites in this set, one of the instruments has been named and focussed on.

Satellite Card Game is similar to a mix and match card game, where you have to find the right Satellite to answer the question/purpose.

Here is an example of one of the question cards:

An example of the satellite cards (top trump style)

This game was developed by National Centre for Earth Observation, in partnership with ASDC for the national STEM programme Our World From Space.

Download activity pack: RS Satellite card game

Full set of Satellite Cards: Please contact ASDC for these

Learning outcomes

CORE Understand that different satellites and instruments are used to look at different things and help us in different ways.

EXTENSION Relate the type of electromagnetic radiation detected by the sensor on a satellite to possible uses.

FURTHER EXTENSION Begin to consider how other characteristics of a satellite or/and sensor may affect its uses.


Discussion prompts

The ‘best’ satellite and sensor for an application will provide data that:

  • Uses the right type(s) of radiation to give us the information we want – visible light can’t tell us which gases are in the air or anything about temperatures.
  • Is refreshed often enough (has an appropriate temporal resolution) – a gap of days doesn’t matter if we’re looking at building work, but does matter if we’re tracking a storm.
  • Covers all of the area we are interested in in enough detail for us to see what we want to find out – pixels that are 1 km × 1 km can’t tell us much about how a town is expanding.

This activity is part of the ASDC project Our World From SpaceOur World From Space is a two-year national STEM programme exploring the relevance of UK space science for the future health and sustainability of our home planet, funded by UK Space Agency in partnership with Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), part of UK Research and Innovation.