Statement of a problem № 42091


A spy satellite can consist essentially of a large-diameter concave mirror forming an image on a digital-camera detector and sending the picture to a ground receiver by radio waves. In effect, it is an astronomical telescope in orbit, looking down instead of up. Can a spy satellite read a license plate? Can it read the date on a dime? Argue for your answers by making an order-of-magnitude calculation, specifying the data you estimate.

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