30th July, 2008
The Brazilian Space Agency and Britain’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are planning to boldly go into new realms of space-based rainforest protection.
The two institutions are collaborating to launch Amazonia-I, scheduled to blast off from Brazil in 2011. Amazonia-I will take pictures of rainforests worldwide, providing scientists, researchers and conservationists with invaluable information about the state of the Earth’s ‘lungs’.
The idea of monitoring rates of deforestation and environmental degradation from space is not a new one. Several previous rainforest-policing satellite projects include TREES (Tropical Ecosystem Environment observation by Satellite), launched by the former Space Applications Institute; NASA’s Modis satellite network, utilised by scientists from South Dakota State University; and the CBERS programme, which is a joint venture of remote-sensing Earth observation satellites between Brazil and China. These projects show the huge benefits of analysing data from rainforest satellite imagery and have paved the way for an increase in technology and potential.
Enter Amazonia-I. The satellite promises be able to provide much more in depth imagery and detail. Orbiting Earth 14 times a day at a height of 400 miles, Amazonia-I will send images down to satellite ground stations, which will then be analysed in detail. The...
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