The announcement last month regarding the withdrawal of public lands near the Pancake and Sand Springs West HMAs said the area would be used for satellite calibration activities but did not give any details.
If you thought it might involve spy cameras that can read freeze marks off wild horses you might be disappointed.
And, no, the apparatus with the curved beam it not intended for use at Burning Man.
A brief from 2018 says they were evaluating the bidirectional reflectance distribution function of Railroad Valley and assessing the radiometric uncertainties thereof.
The withdrawn lands are preferred because of
- High surface reflectance
- Spatial uniformity
- Spectrally flat
- High altitude
- Large size
- Favorable weather
A 2002 bulletin by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has images of irrigated fields in the valley from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer that can be used for monitoring crop health.
Hopefully that clears everything up.