The solar flare that slammed into Earth's atmosphere earlier this month was a prescient reminder that solar weather -- though sometimes beautiful -- can have serious impacts on the Earth. So perhaps the timing is right for something like AMPERE, the first space-based system capable of monitoring the Earth's immediate space environment in real-time. The system is the first step in a process that will enable around-the-clock monitoring and eventual prediction of solar and space weather and its effects on Earth.
We can now tweet from the International Space Station and make phone calls from the summit of Mount Everest, so why can't we get any check our email from the ocean floor? A new Lockheed Martin program, plainly named Communications at Speed and Depth, will plug deep-diving stealth submarines into the DoD's Global Information Grid, just like any other surface vessel.