NASA will soon be scaling up its documentation of environmental and societal changes on Earth. The space agency will achieve this by working in collaboration with its partners in Europe and Japan, namely ESA (European Space Agency) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The collaboration will include utilising all the Earth-observing satellite data available so far. This will be used to document and expand resources and understand a wider range of changes that are taking place in the environment and human society around the globe. The dashboard will include six areas of focus — atmosphere, agriculture, biomass, water and ocean, cryosphere, and economy.
The expanded documentation will widen the scope of online resources available to us. This will in turn help in the making of more data-driven stories. The information can also be used to explore relevant datasets.
Karen St. Germain, NASA Earth Science Division director, said in a statement, “With our partners at ESA and JAXA, this is another important step to get the latest information to the public about our changing planet, in an accessible and convenient way, which can inform decisions and planning for communities around the world.”
The dashboard aims to provide an accessible and objective resource to people like public scientists and decision-makers who may not yet be familiar with satellite data. Here’s what NASA’s website has to say about this project, “It offers a precise, objective, and comprehensive view of our planet. Using accurate remote sensing observations, the dashboard shows the changes occurring in Earth‘s air, land, and water and their effects on human activities. Users can explore countries and regions around the world to see how the indicators in specific locations change over time.”
For this purpose, the collaborators need to find satellite data streams that can be rendered to simplified and objective resources. Current computing infrastructure has to be updated to share the information across the agencies. The six focus areas will deal with different aspects of life on Earth.
The atmosphere focus area looks into air pollution and climate change, while the agriculture will seek more insights into agricultural production, crop conditions, and food supply. How do trees and plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? We’ll know that through the biomass focus area. Cryosphere will deal with the impact of global warming on sea ice. The water and ocean area will explore the richness of this natural resource. The economy focus area will connect Earth’s social and economic systems to the environment.