Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SERVIR: Expanding sensor networks from the ground to the International Space Station

NASA: With Earth Day around the corner, it's a chance to look at how investigations done on the International Space Station give back to our planet. Through global observations from space, researchers have a unique point of view by which to approach environmental studies and disaster analysis. One such instrument is SERVIR, NASA and USAID's joint-venture environmental monitoring system, which is adding a new tool to enhance its research and global observation capabilities via the International Space Station.

SERVIR, which means "to serve" in Spanish, provides analyses and applications from space-based remotely sensed information to help developing nations' decision making regarding natural disasters, climate change, and other environmental threats. The latest instrument for advancing their mission is called the International Space Station SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System, or ISERV.

ISERV is an imaging system designed and built at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. ISERV will soon be installed in the Window Observational Research Facility, or WORF, in the space station's Destiny module. Once in place, researchers on the ground will be able to task the camera to acquire image data of specific areas of the globe, as viewed through Destiny's Earth-facing science window.

The system, based on a modified commercial telescope and driven by custom software, will use downward viewpoint to obtain near-real-time data about Earth-based environmental disasters, humanitarian crises and environmental threats. ISERV will then transmit that data within hours to scientists back on Earth.

"Images captured from ISERV on the International Space Station will provide valuable information back here on Earth," said Dan Irwin, SERVIR program director at the Marshall Center. "It will provide new data and information from space related to disasters, humanitarian crises and the increased effects of climate variability on human populations."...

The ISERV camera, once on the space station, will be positioned to look through Destiny's Earth-facing window. ISERV will receive commands from Earth and acquire image data of specific areas on the Earth the next time the station passes over the region. (www.servirglobal.net) From the NASA website

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