The devices developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX have a heating function to prevent accumulated snow from interfering with the signal
As cold weather and storms hit parts of the United States this winter, cat owners can rest easy knowing their fluffy companions will be curled up in the warmest spots they can reach.
Aaron Taylor certainly thinks so to have found out. On December 31, Taylor tweeted a photo of five cats curled up on his self-heating satellite dish. The post quickly went viral, garnering over 190,000 likes and 26,000 retweets so far.
“Starlink works great until the cats find out the dish gives off a little warmth on cold days,” he tweeted.
Starlink is a satellite internet service developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It currently has more than 1,600 satellites orbiting space, with US government approval, to eventually launch up to 12,000, reports the Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt.
Starlink satellite dishes have a self-heating function to melt snow, what may be why cats are attracted to it, the Guardian reports. Engineers designed this feature to prevent snow from interfering with the signal, but can the dish handle a bunch of cats? Taking to Twitter, Taylor says five cats snuggling up to his plate interrupt his video streaming and “slow everything down.”
For those worried about cats being outside in cold weather, Taylor poses clear that they have access to a heated cat house. But even when temperatures dropped to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit, the kittens were still using the satellite dish as a $500 cat bed. “When the sun goes down, they go back to their house,” he adds on Twitter.
He suspects those luxurious naps occur during the day because sunlight warms the bowl from above while internal dish heaters warm them from below warmed, he writes in another comment.
Still, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends keeping cats indoors to avoid dangers related to disease, parasites, automobiles, attacks by other animals, toxins, and extreme weather conditions. Preventing cats from going outside also protects native animals from predators and disease.
Other Twitter users were quick to respond to Taylor’s post, including Nico Thirion, who posted a photo of a bird hanging from a satellite dish . “Different species, same problem,” he wrote.
But critters on dishes aren’t Starlink’s only concern, according to the Guardian. Starlink made headlines in December after two near misses between Starlink satellites and China’s Tiangong space station, prompting China to accuse the US of “ignoring international treaty obligations and engaging in irresponsible and unsafe behavior in space.” reports Rhoda Kwan and Jon Henley of the Guardian.
Starlink satellites are responsible for 1,600 in-orbit near misses each week, reports Futurism’s Dan Robitzski, a number he reports is likely to rise as Starlink plans to launch more satellites.
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Margaret Osborne is a freelance journalist based in the American Southwest. Her work appeared on the Sag Harbor Express and was broadcast on WSHU Public Radio.
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