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NASA and the Environment: 10 Eco-Projects They’re Involved In


With climate change becoming one of the most widely discussed and pressing problems in recent years, protecting and caring about the environment has become the main goal of many major organizations and governmental agencies.

One such agency is NASA. Opposite to common beliefs that exploration of the Earth surface is their main aim, NASA has initiated a number of projects specifically directed towards collecting data for monitoring and assessing the effects climate change has on our environment.

Trying to keep our readers up to date with the latest initiatives and technological innovations in the field, we decided to show you 10 of the most creative NASA projects dedicated to the environment. Special thanks go to Treehugger, and the article published by Megan Treacy.

volcano-uav.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 1. Dragon Eye unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for measuring sulfur dioxide plume from volcanoes. The small aircraft was launched over Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica, with the aim to test ways to improve the remote sensing capabilities of models of volcanic activity.
forest-map.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 2. LiDAR instrument for measuring forest height. This laser technology was mounted on three of NASA’s satellites, and by estimating the time of return of the signal scientists were able to accurately map three height.
sea-level-viewer.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 3.  TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellites for ocean surface topography. By measuring sea level, scientists could determine the impact of changing oceans on climate patterns.
airs.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 4. Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) for measuring CO2. This instrument collects data on CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere on daily basis. Such information aids accurate modelling and understanding of CO2 distribution and transport.
nasa-attrex-01.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 5. Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX) for exploring remote regions. This aircraft flies up to 65,000 feet above the tropical Pacific Ocean. By measuring water vapor, clouds, trace gases and temperatures in the atmosphere, scientists can now link changes in these factors with changes on Earth.
iserv.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 6. SERVIR Environmental Research and Visualization System (ISERV) for acquiring high definition photos of the Earth surface. This instrument provides images for better disaster monitoring, and hopefully help improve warning systems.
icebridge.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 7. Operation IceBridge for surveying the polar ice. This mission operates since 2009, and it is known to be the most extensive survey of Earth’s polar ice, fors monitoring of sea level rise.
hico.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 8. Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) for measuring environmental characteristics of coastlines. This instrument provides extensive data, which is used to monitor changes in coastal environments.
Aquatic_Dead_Zones.jpeg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 9. Combing NASA’s resources for mapping ocean dead zones. This is particularly important so that low-oxygen zones due to fertilizer run off can be identified.
super-tiger-nasa.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smart 10. SUPER-Tiger Balloon for measuring heavy elements within high-energy cosmic rays. For a total  of 55 days in the air above Antarctica, this balloon carried instruments, which detected 50 million cosmic rays and collected enough data for at least 2 years of analysis.
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