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Spectrometers to Track Vegetation Change from ISS

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 — NASA has selected two proposals for spectrometers to be used on the International Space Station for observing changes in global vegetation due to climate or land use change.

A laser-based system from the University of Maryland, College Park, will observe the structure of forest canopy over the tropics and the tundra in high northern latitudes, focusing on natural carbon storage changes from human-influenced activities and natural climate variations. It will be completed in 2019 at a cost of $94 million.

A high-resolution, multiple-wavelength imaging spectrometer from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will conduct a separate study of plant evapotranspiration — the loss of water from growing leaves and evaporation from the soil — to understand how ecosystems change with climate. It will be completed in 2018 and cost roughly $30 million.

“We are excited to expand the use of the International Space Station to make critical Earth observations that will help scientists understand the diversity of forests and vegetation and their response to a changing climate,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

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