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Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

NASA needs help from citizen science

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A recent CNN report announced thatNASA is asking for the help of citizens in viewing hundreds of thousands of images taken from space over the years, from the 1960s Mercury missions to the present images snapped from the International Space Station.

North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.
North Korea is barely lit when juxtaposed with neighboring South Korea and China.

Via The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth, NASA is making these images available for citizens to examine.

NASA says the hope is that the images “could help save energy, contribute to better human health and safety and improve our understanding of atmospheric chemistry. But scientists need your help to make that happen.”

The catalog contains more than 1.8 million photos, about 1.3 million of them from the space station and roughly 30% of them taken at night.

 Photos: International Space Station
NASA gets rare view of black hole
NASA tests supersonic parachute for Mars

Tyson on deep space exploration

The CNN report said that before 2003, night images from the space station could be blurry, even with high-speed film and manual tracking, because the station moves at about 17,500 mph. In that same year, astronaut Don Pettit used a drill and assorted parts he found on the station to cobble together a “barn-door tracker,” a lower-tech predecessor to the European Space Agency’s NightPod, which was installed at the space station nine years later.

According to the report, NightPod’s motorized tripod compensates for the space station’s speed, providing what NASA scientist William Stefanov says are the highest-resolution night images from orbit. Satellites collect data more regularly, but the photos tend to be lower resolution. “Now the pictures are clear, but their location may not be, which limits their usefulness,” the NASA news release says.

Citizen science has a better handle on location than the night images from the space station and satellite imagery. The Complutense University of Madrid is spearheading efforts to get citizen input and organize the photos.  They have broken down the  the images into three components requiring different levels of participation:

1. Dark skies. This is the easiest project, as it requires no scientific expertise. “Anyone can help” by sorting the images into the categories: cities, stars or other objects, said Alejandro Sanchez, doctoral student at Complutense.

“Without the help of citizens, it is almost impossible to use these images scientifically. Algorithms cannot distinguish between stars, cities and other objects, such as the moon. Humans are much more efficient for complex image analysis,” he said.

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What’s new in geo at Autodesk University 2013

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Robots for the future jobsite, flying drones for delivering packages and reality capture were all part of the show at Tuesday morning’s Mainstage presentation at Autodesk University 2013. Clearly, these technology directions are dependent upon location and geospatial technology.

 

Iris the robot

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ITT Exelis instrument tracks global carbon dioxide

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Eric Webster, vice president of Exelis Weather Systems, talked recently about the company’s efforts along with NASA Langley Research Center to evaluate an Exelis instrument to determine its effectiveness for measuring CO2 from space.

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Images show Chinese air pollution from NASA satellite

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Mid-January 2013 air quality proved to be dangerous to the health of Beijing residents and those of many other cities in China. Authorities warned people to stay indoors as the nation faced one of the worst periods of air quality in recent history. Factories were government-ordered to scale back emissions. According to news reports, hospitals experienced more than 20 to 30 percent increase in patients complaining of respiratory issues.

According to NASA Earth Observatory, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired these natural-color images of northeastern China on January 14 (top) and January 3, 2013. The top image shows extensive haze, low clouds, and fog over the region. The brightest areas tend to be clouds or fog, which have a tinge of gray or yellow from the air pollution. Other cloud-free areas have a pall of gray and brown smog that mostly blots out the cities below. In areas where the ground is visible, some of the landscape is covered with lingering snow from storms in recent weeks. (Snow is more prominent in the January 3 image.)

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The importance of U.S. commercial satellite imagery

Friday, April 13th, 2012

High resolution imagery of sub-meter – less than 40 inches – is only available from GeoEye, DigitalGlobe, Astrium Geo, and ImageSat. It is what the stuff of Google is made of. GeoEye and DigitalGlobe represent approximately 75% of this market, and 2/3 of their revenue is tied to the U.S.  government. There are lots of free, government sources of satellite imagery like Landsat, and weather satellites from NASA and NOAA, but these are not high-resolution satellites that can zoom in on your house, or support 3D modeling for engineering and virtual reality-type applications.

Read about why U.S. commercial satellite imagery is important:

The Fate of U.S. Commercial Satellite Imagery – and why you should care LBx Journal

 

Mountains that were beneath the sea now exposed in Oman

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The mountains of northeastern Oman are rugged, dry, and as much as 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level. Yet millions of years ago, parts of these mountains were at the bottom of the sea. Actually, they were beneath it.

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Global warming increases possibility of heat extremes

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

According to several top scientists, the March heat wave that has shattered records across a wide swath of the U.S. bears some of the hallmarks of global warming.

In email conversations, those same scientific researchers who specialize in studying the role climate change plays in influencing individual extreme events — a burgeoning field known as  “extreme event attribution” — said global warming may have made March’s soaring temperatures more likely to occur, although they add that natural variability has played a key role as well.

Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red; near-normal temperatures are white; and areas that were cooler than the 2000-2011 base period are blue. Photograph: Terra/MODIS/NASA

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“Change matters” viewer from Esri displays Vegas sprawl

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The Change Matters viewer from Esri can show how your area has changed over a given time period, say for instance, from 1988 to 1990. Las Vegas is known for its phenomenal sprawl over the past four decades.  Time-lapseimages from the Landsat earth monitoring satellites reveal in false-color, multispectral imagery how urban sprawl has stretched out from Nevada’s “Sin City” over the past four decades.

This latest video was posted by NASA in honor of the 28th anniversary of Landsat 5’s launch on March 1, but the pictures actually go back to 1972, when the Landsat program began.

OGC Calls for Participation in Major Interoperability Testbed – OWS-9 RFQ

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) calls for participation in a major interoperability testbed, OWS-9. OWS-9 builds on the outcomes of prior OGC initiatives.

Responses are due by 5 pm EST on April 6, 2012.

A bidders’ teleconference will be held on March 9, 2012. More information at the URL below.

The Point of Contact is Nadine Alameh: techdesk@opengeospatial.org.

The OWS-9 sponsors are:

  • AGC (Army Geospatial Center, US Army Corps of Engineers)
  • CREAF-GeoViQua-EC (CREAF is the European Center for Research in Ecology and Forestry Applications)
  • EUROCONTROL
  • FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration)
  • GeoConnections – Natural Resources Canada
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • NGA (US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • USGS (US Geological Survey)

 

OGC testbed

Underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro continues

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.

Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water  can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.

This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.

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