Bill Gates backs a 1 billion plan to cover Earth in 'Big Brother' satellites capable of streaming 'live and unfiltered' HD footage of the planet

Daily Mail 2018 World

Microsoft's Bill Gates is backing a start-up that will provide 'live and unfiltered' high definition footage of every inch of Earth.

The startup, EarthNow, plans to launch 500 satellites to cover Earth's atmosphere in 'Big Brother' real-time video surveillance.

As well as Gates, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and aerospace giant Airbus are also backing the project.

The price of the project could run to $1 billion (£700m), although the value of the investment by the companies has not been disclosed.

Applications could including tracking illegal fishing, monitoring the weather and tracking natural migrations globally.

EarthNow founder Russel Hannigan said: 'Our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time.'

'We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.'

The company is based in Bellevue, Washington and was founded in 2017.

It plans to use an army of orbiting satellites will weigh around 500 pounds (225 kg) each that will have their cameras trained on Earth 24 hours a day.

It will onboard analysis of the imagery, though to what extent isn't clear.

There is also currently no clear timeline, price-tag or technical details about the project.

EarthNow's services will initially be aimed at 'high value enterprise and government customers.

However, the firm says it also expected to allow civilians to access the video from a smartphone or tablet.

'We are excited by the prospect of giving everyone a stunningly beautiful real-time window on your world from space,' Mr Hannigan said.

'With EarthNow, we will all become virtual astronauts.'

EarthNow is a start-up company based in Washington.

Founded in 2017, the firm hopes to put a small army of satellites into low-Earth orbit.

Weighing around 500 pounds and the size of a fridge, the satellies will have high-quality cameras fitted to them.

The purpose of the global network of small spacecrafts is to provide a constant stream of high-definition video of the Earth.

Showing every corner of the globe in real time, the footage will have a plethora of uses.

The 'live and unfiltered' video stream will act as the over-arching Big Brother and be used to monitor illegal fishing, detect natural disasters as they start and even watch whales migrate across the world.