NASA announced plans last week to send a new telescopic camera to the International Space Station to give developing countries critical new environmental data on forest fires, floods, volcanoes, droughts, hurricanes and landslides in Central America, Africa and Asia.
ISERV is NASA's abbreviation for the new camera designed and built at Marshall Space Flight Center to record those changes. Once it's aboard the station, the camera will obtain near-real-time data, NASA says. It will be able to "see" 90 percent of the Earth's land mass and 95 percent of its populated areas, according to lead scientist Burgess Howell at NASA Huntsville. SERVIR can show officials the scope of a natural event and its effect on regional resources such as drinking water.
"Often, things that significantly impact local areas are things you would never read about in the New York Times or the Huntsville paper," Howell said. "They fly under the radar and can't get high enough up the priority chain, frequently, to task commercial satellites for these things."
"We got the authority to proceed at the end of February last year," Marshall project manager Susan Spencer said. "In 10 and one-half months, we got this hardware in house, modified, special parts built, everything tested and delivered down to (Johnson Space Center) to be shipped to Japan. That's almost unheard-of."The NASA teams that manage the space station are glad to host the new experiment. If it's successful, and there's no reason to think it won't be, future cameras could be mounted on the outside of the station itself to provide even clearer images."
The addition of ISERV will enhance the growing set of tools aboard the station to monitor Earth," said Julie Robinson, International Space Station program scientist at Johnson Space Center. "It reaffirms the station's commitment to helping solve global issues."
Source: The Daily Galaxy via NASA