The billionaire offered to send his network of 2,000 Starlink satellites to restore connectivity
Remember the recent viral video of a volcanic eruption visible from space? It was from the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano located on a small island nation of Tonga.
The underwater explosion that was said to be 500 times more forceful than the Hiroshima blast has left a wave of devastation across the island. It even caused a 1.2-meter Tsunami, which flooded the capital Nuku’alofa.
1.14.2021: Large volcanic eruption near Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano) today as seen from outer space. Shown on visible imagery using the Himawari satellite. #hiwx #tsunami #earthquake pic.twitter.com/zOTj6Qu1Wv
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) January 15, 2022
Further adding to the misery, the island’s only undersea cable connecting it to the outside world was severed due to the natural disaster.
While the authorities are running helter-skelter to bring communication back online, US billionaire Elon Musk has offered a much-needed helping hand. In a tweet, Musk asked the people of Tonga if he needs to send Starlink terminals over to restore internet connectivity.
Could people from Tonga let us know if it is important for SpaceX to send over Starlink terminals?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2022
Of course, there are some who liked this move
Yes @elonmusk we need them to get liquidity in to purchase much needed goods. Voice & data Completely down with undersea cable severed. I have a plane airdropping hamradio in for basic comms, but @starlink essential. Pls contact me to coordinate and help.
— Lord Fusitu’a (@LordFusitua) January 21, 2022
Yes please, my fingers are sore from sending smoke signals …. just a few gig
— Pita Taufatofua (@pitaTofua) January 21, 2022
Tonga needs starlink!
— Chitrak Shah (@ChitrakShivalik) January 21, 2022
You the man!!! pic.twitter.com/c0ZdugpmO7
— – TITS, Texas (@billhuang688) January 21, 2022
And some who didn’t…
How do you expect them to do this if they don’t have any internet?
— jack jizzler (@JackJizzler) January 21, 2022
They need help for almost everything
— Susi Pudjiastuti (@susipudjiastuti) January 21, 2022
How about sending some aid, fresh water for a start. Space stuff isn’t a priority Elon.
— Bumpayn (@Snorkelybum) January 21, 2022
Did you literally just do the “I sent an email out letting people know the email system was down” meme… ♀️
— nicole♠️ (@32bit_melodrama) January 21, 2022
Yes that went well
— Nigel Simmonds (@NigelBali) January 21, 2022
The Starlink network works in a somewhat similar way to cable TV. It utilizes low orbital satellites to provide internet connectivity. By being closer to the earth’s surface, the latency is reduced, which in turn helps with features like online buffering and video calling.
As of today, there are over 2,000 active Starlink satellites in the orbit, making it the largest satellite constellation around Earth. In the coming years, SpaceX plans to put 12,000 satellites in space.