NASA has selected proposals for two new instruments that will observe changes in global vegetation from the International Space Station. The sensors will give scientists new ways to see how forests and ecosystems are affected by changes in climate or in land use.
Seen above is the Amazon rainforest from a 2010 global map of the height of the world’s forests.
The two new instruments are:
• A high-resolution, multiple-wavelength imaging spectrometer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study the effectiveness of water use by vegetation.
• A laser-based system from the University of Maryland to observe the structure of forest canopy.
“We are excited to expand the use of the International Space Station to make critical Earth observations that will help scientists understand the diversity of forests and vegetation and their response to a changing climate,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “These innovative Earth Venture Instruments will join a growing suite of NASA Earth-observing sensors to be deployed to the station starting this year.”
The instruments were competitively selected from 20 proposals submitted to NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program.
For more on the instruments, see this NASA press release.