Applied Sciences

NASA satellites and sensors constantly take the pulse of our planet, measuring how Earth changes by the day, season, year, and decade. Researchers and resource managers analyze those measurements and apply them on local and regional scales to better manage things like our food and water supplies, health, safety, land use, and ecosystems. NASA data is also used by other government agencies to help with responses to natural disasters and emergencies around the country and the world.

Experimenting with Tucson Night Lights
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Experimenting with Tucson Night Lights

Using satellites, scientists are starting to better understand the specific sources of urban light pollution.

Published May 3, 2021

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Sounding the Seafloor with Light
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Sounding the Seafloor with Light

Researchers work to map shallow waters with freely available data and cloud computing.

Published Apr 30, 2021

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Sizing Up Remote Lakes
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Sizing Up Remote Lakes

Researchers are using ICESat-2 elevation data to create bathymetry maps of shallow lakes in the remote desert.

Published Apr 27, 2021

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Fine-Tuning Irrigation in Asia
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Fine-Tuning Irrigation in Asia

Scientists harness satellite data to help farmers use less water in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Published Apr 21, 2021

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Plugging-in Sub-Saharan Africa
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Plugging-in Sub-Saharan Africa

Satellite data show electricity access increased in many urban populations but decreased in some rural areas from 2014-2019.

Published Mar 22, 2021

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Deforestation in Papua
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Deforestation in Papua

While the region has seen less deforestation than other parts of Indonesia, large-scale clearing is still evident.

Published Mar 9, 2021

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A Mosaic of Fire Data
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A Mosaic of Fire Data

Scientists are using radar data to decipher where and how well landscapes recover in the years after major fires.

Published Feb 6, 2021

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NASA Data Aid Food Security Assessments in Kenya
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NASA Data Aid Food Security Assessments in Kenya

Cropland masks and other environmental data can help agriculture agencies pinpoint where support is most needed.

Published Jan 25, 2021

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Counting Trees in Africa’s Drylands
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Counting Trees in Africa’s Drylands

An international team of scientists has used artificial intelligence and commercial satellites to identify an unexpectedly large number of trees spread across arid and semi-arid areas.

Published Dec 7, 2020

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Mapping Landslide Hazards in Central America
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Mapping Landslide Hazards in Central America

After severe hurricanes dropped torrential rain on Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other countries, NASA researchers worked to map potential landslide hazards.

Published Nov 18, 2020

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Assessing California Fire Scars
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Assessing California Fire Scars

Analyzing subtle differences in near-infrared and shortwave-infrared light from the landscape, scientists can provide some measure of the severity of wildfire burns.

Published Oct 14, 2020

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Mapping the Roots of Mangrove Loss
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Mapping the Roots of Mangrove Loss

While the rate of losses has declined, the ecosystems are still threatened and are facing more environmental stress.

Published Aug 25, 2020

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Derecho Flattens Iowa Corn
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Derecho Flattens Iowa Corn

A line of thunderstorms with hurricane-force winds caused widespread damage to crops.

Published Aug 20, 2020

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Predicting Cholera Risk in Yemen
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Predicting Cholera Risk in Yemen

Researchers are using satellite and ground data to forecast the risk of cholera in the country, which has consistently experienced cases since 2017.

Published Aug 12, 2020

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Scientists Map Beirut Blast Damage
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Scientists Map Beirut Blast Damage

Radar imagery of ground surface changes could help with efforts at disaster relief and recovery after the explosion.

Published Aug 11, 2020

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Early Detection of Algae Yields Savings
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Early Detection of Algae Yields Savings

Satellites can spot some blooms earlier, resulting in significant savings on health care, lost work hours, and other economic costs.

Published Aug 4, 2020

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Methane Emissions Continue to Rise
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Methane Emissions Continue to Rise

Rapid growth from 2008–2017 built upon the rise in the atmospheric concentration of the gas that has been happening for more than a century.

Published Jul 15, 2020

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Could COVID-19 Have Seasons? Searching for Signals in Earth Data
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Could COVID-19 Have Seasons? Searching for Signals in Earth Data

A race is on to figure out whether COVID-19 will wax and wane with the seasons. Atmospheric and hydrologic models produced by NASA and other institutions may be key to that research.

Published Jul 14, 2020

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Of Mosquitoes and Models: Tracking Disease by Satellite
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Of Mosquitoes and Models: Tracking Disease by Satellite

A few decades ago, the idea of predicting a disease outbreak via satellite was science fiction. But today, researchers can use environmental data to predict when and where some diseases are likely to spread.

Published Jul 9, 2020

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Scouting Watering Holes from Space
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Scouting Watering Holes from Space

Satellites may make it easier for nomadic herders in Senegal to survive the lean season.

Published Jul 2, 2020

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Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia
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Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia

Fires are raging in eastern Siberia in the midst of an unusually long-lived heat wave.

Published Jun 23, 2020

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Temperatures Predict Bird Biodiversity
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Temperatures Predict Bird Biodiversity

Small birds prefer winter landscapes that have larger thermal differences, likely because they offer more opportunities to find refuge from the cold.

Published Jun 4, 2020

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A Fiery Month in Zulia
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A Fiery Month in Zulia

After dry weather parched the soil and vegetation, large fires burned in the northwestern Venezuela state.

Published Apr 28, 2020

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Tornado Leaves a Mark on Rural Texas
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Tornado Leaves a Mark on Rural Texas

Powerful thunderstorms moving through eastern Texas and western Louisiana spawned several tornadoes, including some that caused major damage.

Published Apr 27, 2020

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Mapping Moose Populations in Russia
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Mapping Moose Populations in Russia

Researchers using vegetation data to explain moose population dynamics run into a hidden variable and a possible signature of history.

Published Apr 27, 2020

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Tracking Water for the Navajo Nation
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Tracking Water for the Navajo Nation

A new web tool designed by NASA applied scientists could help the tribe anticipate and respond to drought.

Published Apr 20, 2020

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Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?
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Could Satellites Help Head Off a Locust Invasion?

Researchers are using satellite data to understand where locusts may spread during the largest infestation in eastern Africa in decades.

Published Mar 30, 2020

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Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management
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Satellite Observations Aid Bison Management

A new study has found a link between the effects of climate change, the productivity of grasslands, and the proliferation of bison in Yellowstone National Park.

Published Mar 12, 2020

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Habitat at Risk for Snow-Dependent Organisms
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Habitat at Risk for Snow-Dependent Organisms

Some species will be exposed to more cold winter air without the insulating protection of snow cover.

Published Mar 6, 2020

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Reflecting on a Tumultuous Amazon Fire Season
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Reflecting on a Tumultuous Amazon Fire Season

The reality of science, statistics, and satellites is that a deep understanding of the causes, effects, and severity of a fire season takes time.

Published Mar 3, 2020

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