Navigation Links
Data streaming in from Space Station to OSU lab

CORVALLIS, Ore. A prototype scanner aboard the international space station has been taking new images of Earth's coastal regions during the 16 months since it was launched, providing scientists with a new set of imaging tools that will help them monitor events from oil spills to plankton blooms.

The images and other data are now available to scientists from around the world through an online clearinghouse coordinated by Oregon State University.

Additional details of the project will be announced in a forthcoming issue of the American Geophysical Union journal, EOS, and can be found on an OSU website about the project.

The Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean, or HICO, is the first space-borne sensor created specifically for observing the coastal ocean and will allow scientists to better analyze human impacts and climate change effects on the world's coastal regions, according to Curtiss O. Davis, an OSU oceanographer and the project scientist.

"What HICO does that other ocean imaging systems like NASA's MODIS cannot is provide color sensor data down to the human scale," Davis said. "Whereas the normal resolution for an ocean imager is about one kilometer, HICO provides resolution down to 90 meters. And instead of having just nine channels like MODIS, it has 90 channels.

"This allows us to focus the imaging system on a section of the coastline and map the ocean floor in water as deep as 50 to 60 feet," he added. "It gives us the ability to track sediment down the Columbia River, and to distinguish that sediment from phytoplankton blooms in the ocean. It can reveal near-shore eddies, currents, and the influence of coastal streams entering the ocean.

"It is a scientific treasure trove for the coastal oceanographer," he added.

This sophisticated imaging system was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and installed aboard the space station in 2009. Its development was an experiment to see if engineers could create an "Innovative Naval Prototype" instrument very quickly, at low-cost, and make it work for a year, said Davis, who worked for several years at the laboratory before joining the OSU faculty.

That first goal was achieved last October and now the focus is on the second goal, conducting useful science with this unique data set.

"We've already talked to 40-50 interested scientists and shared some preliminary data," he said, "and they've been excited about the potential. They all want a piece of it."

Some of the images HICO has provided have revealed interesting data:

  • Images of the Han River in South Korea outline the dynamic, rapidly shifting shallow mud flats that are covered by the incoming tide, but include sandbars where boats can easily get mired;

  • Images from the Straits of Gibraltar, separating Spain from North Africa, reveal where large internal waves propagate hundreds of feet below the surface. These waves, which were used during World War II to hide submarines moving through the channel, can affect fishing and boat navigation.

  • Images of the Columbia River, taken during a large storm and after, reveal changing breakwaters and bars that demonstrate the complexity and dynamics of this large system.

"We hope to begin imaging the area around Sendai, Japan, which was devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami to see what we might learn," Davis said.

The space station orbits Earth about 16 times a day and the researchers are able to get about 5-6 good images daily of targeted locations. Cloud cover and darkness limit the number of possible images, and the transmission of data files is enormous.

Jasmine Nahorniak, a senior research assistant, developed and runs the website through OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences where HICO images and other data are stored and shared with scientists around the world.

"We have a couple of thousand images and a growing number of scientists who are interested in the data," she said. "It's a work in progress."


Contact: Curt Davis
Oregon State University

Related biology news :

1. Aerospace sciences meeting to be held Jan. 5-8 in Orlando
2. Expert recommends town councils to design low-allergy impact green spaces
3. Measuring water from space
4. Space researchers developing tool to help disoriented pilots
5. Compact research freezers to debut in space
6. The medium is the message: Manipulating salmonella in spaceflight curtails infectiousness
7. Webcam from Space: Envisat observing Wilkins Ice Shelf
8. Research yields new clues to how we locate objects in space
9. GUMC young scientist selected postdoc Fellow at National Space Biomedical Research Institute
10. UAB space freezers deemed a success
11. Astronauts may need more intense workouts to maintain muscle fitness in space
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015  Based on ... Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 Global ... Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to ... line catering to the needs of the market it ... product line meets and expands on customer base demands, ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... 18, 2015 --> ... new market report titled  Gesture Recognition Market - Global ... - 2021. According to the report, the global gesture recognition market was ... to reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, at a CAGR ... North America dominated the global gesture recognition ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... Directors. --> --> ... the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the largest ... Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating ... companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... A long-standing ... Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of ... with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, November 24, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today ... Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an ... turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... International Society for ... of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference ... ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than a decade. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, ... Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has ... type of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because ...
Breaking Biology Technology: