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.

Satellites Investigate Irrigation in a Stressed Aquifer
Image

Satellites Investigate Irrigation in a Stressed Aquifer

Using Landsat to track patterns in irrigation may help water managers sketch out a more sustainable future for the Ogallala Aquifer in the central United States.

Published Jul 9, 2018

Image of the Day Land Life Human Presence

NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts
Image

NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts

The amount of water contained in the top few centimeters of soil is small on a global scale, but it is critical for agriculture analysts trying to monitor commodity production and humanitarian need.

Published Jun 2, 2018

Image of the Day Land Remote Sensing

Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites
Image

Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites

Risk maps can help land managers make more informed decisions about modern development in the vicinity of an ancient civilization.

Published Jun 1, 2018

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing

Probing Kilauea’s Plume
Image

Probing Kilauea’s Plume

Volcanic plumes can pose health hazards and offer clues about a volcano’s geology.

Published May 15, 2018

Image of the Day Atmosphere Volcanoes Human Presence

Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea
Image

Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea

The eruption at one of Hawaii’s most active volcanoes has taken a turn for the worse.

Published May 8, 2018

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Volcanoes Human Presence

Cape Town’s Water is Running Out
Image

Cape Town’s Water is Running Out

A multi-year drought, a growing population, and management choices have put the city’s water supply in a precarious position.

Published Jan 29, 2018

Image of the Day Land Water Drought Human Presence

Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels
Image

Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels

Satellites can help inform predictions of harmful algae blooms off California.

Published Jan 18, 2018

Image of the Day Life Water Human Presence

Bacteria Thrive as Ocean Warms
Image

Bacteria Thrive as Ocean Warms

Increasing numbers of Vibrio infections could be a direct consequence of dramatic ocean warming over the past few decades.

Published Jan 17, 2018

Image of the Day Life Water Human Presence

Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients
Image

Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients

Understanding the chemical precursors of ground-level ozone may make it easier to prevent the pollutant from building up in the lower atmosphere.

Published Nov 7, 2017

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence Remote Sensing

Erosion After the Fire
Image

Erosion After the Fire

Hillslope-scale erosion maps helped response teams decide how and where to focus recovery efforts following the Soberanes fire in California.

Published Aug 18, 2017

Image of the Day Land Fires Remote Sensing

Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion
Image

Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion

Aggressive phragmites can threaten native salt marsh vegetation.

Published Aug 2, 2017

Image of the Day Land Life Water

Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar
Image

Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar

Hail pummeled a long stretch of crops in South Dakota in June.

Published Jul 19, 2017

Image of the Day Atmosphere Land Life

Night Lights Change in the Middle East
Image

Night Lights Change in the Middle East

Changing patterns of nighttime lights are of great interest to demographers, engineers, and humanitarian relief organizations.

Published May 16, 2017

Image of the Day Land Human Presence Remote Sensing World of Change

Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications
Image

Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications

By removing natural and stray light sources, researchers get a clearer picture of the human footprint on Earth.

Published Apr 13, 2017

Image of the Day Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing

Finding Fires in Peru
Image

Finding Fires in Peru

Peru’s intense fire season in 2016 saw burning extend into 11 of the country’s protected areas.

Published Feb 10, 2017

Image of the Day Atmosphere Heat Land Life

Cleaning Up Cookstoves
Image

Cleaning Up Cookstoves

A new study suggests that health and climate benefits may come from unexpected parts of the world.

Published Feb 9, 2017

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence

Mapping a Tenacious Invader in Lake Thurmond
Image

Mapping a Tenacious Invader in Lake Thurmond

New maps could help managers control an invasive aquatic plant in the southeastern United States.

Published Jan 4, 2017

Image of the Day Life Water Remote Sensing

Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests
Image

Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests

Tiny adelgids are killing off hemlock trees in the eastern United States.

Published Nov 15, 2016

Image of the Day Land Life

Puerto Rico Goes Dark
Image

Puerto Rico Goes Dark

A power plant fire left much of the island without electricity.

Published Sep 23, 2016

Image of the Day Land Fires Unique Imagery Human Presence Remote Sensing

Going High-Tech for Fire Detection
Image

Going High-Tech for Fire Detection

The Firecast project aims to bring current satellite data to fire managers as they manage forests in tropical nations. The hope is to improve the monitoring of wildfires and deforestation.

Published Aug 9, 2016

Image of the Day Heat Land Remote Sensing

Automating the Detection of Landslides
Image

Automating the Detection of Landslides

New open-source software called SLIP-DRIP uses satellite images and rainfall data to help identify otherwise overlooked landslides.

Published Jul 8, 2016

Image of the Day Land Remote Sensing Landslides

A Clearer View of Fire
Image

A Clearer View of Fire

Scientists hope that higher-resolution data from VIIRS will lessen the pressure on firefighters.

Published Dec 8, 2015

Image of the Day Atmosphere Heat Land Remote Sensing

A Satellite View of River Width
Image

A Satellite View of River Width

As they prepare for a satellite that will measure the height and areal extent of rivers in unprecedented detail, hydrologists have released a better map of North American river widths.

Published Jul 9, 2015

Image of the Day Land Water

Exploring Reefs from Space
Image

Exploring Reefs from Space

An image of Fiji’s coast shows how modern satellites can help study underwater corals even in the most remote regions.

Published Jul 4, 2015

Image of the Day Life Water Remote Sensing

Scientist-Volunteers Map Landslides from Nepal Quakes
Image

Scientist-Volunteers Map Landslides from Nepal Quakes

A multinational team is trying to map landslide hazards in Nepal before the summer monsoon adds to the region’s misery.

Published Jun 4, 2015

Image of the Day Land Earthquakes

Satellites Spot Fields Idled by Drought
Image

Satellites Spot Fields Idled by Drought

Analysis of Landsat and MODIS data showed where agricultural production was affected by long-term drought in California.

Published Jan 30, 2015

Image of the Day Land

Put a Lid on It
Image

Put a Lid on It

Devices that limit NOx emissions from electric power plants have helped clear the air over the United States.

Published Jun 27, 2014

Image of the Day Atmosphere Human Presence

Sulfur Dioxide Increasing Over India
Image

Sulfur Dioxide Increasing Over India

A new analysis of data from the Aura satellite shows greater concentrations of this atmospheric pollutant.

Published Dec 20, 2013

Image of the Day Atmosphere World of Change

ISERV observes flooding in Calgary
Image

ISERV observes flooding in Calgary

A camera system on the International Space Station observed the high water and muddy aftermath in southern Alberta, Canada.

Published Jun 29, 2013

Image of the Day Land Water Floods Human Presence World of Change

Water Storage Maps Show Improvement
Image

Water Storage Maps Show Improvement

At the surface, moisture is more abundant than in 2012. But time will tell if it seeps down to restore aquifers parched by drought.

Published Jun 18, 2013

Image of the Day Water