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.

Watching Out for Whales
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Watching Out for Whales

Environmental variables detected by satellites can help reduce collisions between ships and blue whales.

Published Nov 1, 2018

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Monitoring Outflow and Algae
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Monitoring Outflow and Algae

A NASA team was able to use satellite imagery to observe effects of a repair of Los Angeles' largest wastewater treatment plant.

Published Oct 30, 2018

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Smart Phones Bring Smart Irrigation
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Smart Phones Bring Smart Irrigation

A project using NASA satellite data helps reduce overwatering and enhances crop yields for Pakistani farmers.

Published Oct 18, 2018

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Early Warnings for Crop Failures
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Early Warnings for Crop Failures

The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor for Early Warning provides science-driven alerts for countries that may be in danger of low crop yields.

Published Oct 5, 2018

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Remotely Sensing Crop Prices
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Remotely Sensing Crop Prices

Economists are using satellite data to help make more accurate price predictions of important crops.

Published Sep 20, 2018

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Taking Stock of the World’s Sandy Beaches
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Taking Stock of the World’s Sandy Beaches

Sandy beaches are growing in some parts of the world and shrinking quickly in others, including one-third of marine protected areas.

Published Aug 2, 2018

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Where to Place a Rainwater Harvesting System
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Where to Place a Rainwater Harvesting System

Water shortages in the Middle East lead to sanitation issues in schools, resulting in periodic school closures. NASA is working to change that.

Published Jul 27, 2018

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Fizzy Tropical Rivers
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Fizzy Tropical Rivers

Long overlooked, it is increasingly clear that streams and rivers play a key role in the carbon cycle.

Published Jul 20, 2018

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The Water is Wider
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The Water is Wider

A new map of the world’s rivers and their widths shows that surface waterways are collectively wider and cover more area than previously thought.

Published Jul 18, 2018

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Satellites Investigate Irrigation in a Stressed Aquifer
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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

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NASA Soil Moisture Data Advances Global Crop Forecasts
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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

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Mapping Modern Threats to Ancient Chacoan Sites
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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

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Probing Kilauea’s Plume
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Probing Kilauea’s Plume

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

Published May 15, 2018

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Sulfur Dioxide Leaks from Kilauea
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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

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Cape Town’s Water is Running Out
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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

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Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels
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Using Scientific Muscle to Grow Safer Mussels

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

Published Jan 18, 2018

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Bacteria Thrive as Ocean Warms
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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

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Satellite Tracks Ozone Pollution by Monitoring Its Key Ingredients
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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

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Erosion After the Fire
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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

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Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion
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Using Satellites to Assess a Reed Invasion

Aggressive phragmites can threaten native salt marsh vegetation.

Published Aug 2, 2017

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Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar
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Using Satellites to Spot a Hail Scar

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

Published Jul 19, 2017

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Night Lights Change in the Middle East
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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

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Night Light Maps Open Up New Applications
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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

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Finding Fires in Peru
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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

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Cleaning Up Cookstoves
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Cleaning Up Cookstoves

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

Published Feb 9, 2017

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Mapping a Tenacious Invader in Lake Thurmond
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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

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Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests
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Sap-sucking Bugs Threaten Hemlock Forests

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

Published Nov 15, 2016

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Puerto Rico Goes Dark
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Puerto Rico Goes Dark

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

Published Sep 23, 2016

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Going High-Tech for Fire Detection
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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

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Automating the Detection of Landslides
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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

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