In a post on, scientist Laura Grego examines U.S. claims linking the Chinese military to alleged hacking attacks on two Earth observation satellites, and concludes there is very little evidence to back them up.

“Why would China try to hack a low-resolution earth-monitoring satellite, much of whose data are distributed free and freely, and for which system China even has operated a ground station to assist in collecting data?” she writes.

Grego questions whether the incidents were indeed hacking, and says that even if they were, it is unclear what advantage an unauthorized user could obtain from Landsat-7 and Terra, “which are not strategically important or national security-related satellites.”

She further notes that no evidence of Chinese involvement is presented in the draft of the U.S.-China Security and Economic Commission’s annual report to Congress. Greco says the report’s assertion that the incidents “appear consistent with authoritative Chinese military writings” is based on one book by a “marginal figure” in China.