Will the "Internet of Animals" Become a Reality?

Last week the cosmonauts on the ISS installed and adjusted the operation of one special antenna, which is intended for the ICARUS project. International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space. Or, to put it simply, the Internet of Animals, a system in which representatives of the wild nature will carry sensors to study the world around them.

In a broad sense, scientists have been using animals as living detectors since the 1980s, when radio beacons began to be placed on them to track their movements. Since then, the equipment has become more and more miniature and by 2025, engineers hope to get such a module that can be attached to even a hummingbird, even a locust, not to mention larger creatures. It weighs 5 grams, has its own solar panels, accelerometer, magnetometer, temperature, pressure and humidity sensors, GPS transmitter.

There is no more space for the storage device, and therefore an antenna is needed on the ISS, which will scan the Earth with a wide beam four times a day. Each module that gets under the radiation sends in response a 233-byte packet with data on its location and current situation. And the rest is a matter of technology, collecting data together and analyzing it to identify trends and compare with events on the planet.

In 2019, the first batch of 1, 000 sensors will be installed on relatively large animals. Work will continue until at least 100, 000 module carriers are in the ICARUS system. Most of the data will be made available to everyone, but some indicators will be classified, for example, signals about the location of individuals of endangered species.