CASIS Announces Grant Awards for Remote Sensing

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL -- The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has announced grant awards for five projects focused on remote sensing and Earth observation. These awards stem from the CASIS Request for Proposals (RFP) "Remote Sensing From the International Space Station." CASIS is the nonprofit organization managing research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

This solicitation sought proposals using the ISS research platform for terrestrial benefit via Earth observations, atmospheric science, planetary science, or remote sensing of space. Through this RFP, CASIS aimed both to increase use of existing ISS hardware and to promote use of the station as a testbed for developing and improving new instrumentation. The ISS National Lab provides a premier vantage point from which to conduct studies of Earth and space. Its specific location and path in low Earth orbit allows this platform to cover 90% of Earth's population, with improved spatial resolution in images and variable lighting conditions when compared with many traditional Earth observation platforms.

The award recipients and winning proposals are as follows:

Dr. Daniel Batcheldor from the Florida Institute of Technology seeks to advance the development of a new type of charge injection device sensor for Earth and space imaging that will improve upon existing charge-coupled device technology. Testing will include monitoring how the space environment affects several aspects of the sensor's function over a period of 90 days of exposure on the NanoRacks External Platform. Future commercial use of this sensor could serve a range of purposes from astronomy initiatives to Earth observation enterprises, including environmental monitoring and defense interests.

Dr. William Farrand of the Space Science Institute will evaluate whether the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) installed on the ISS is an effective instrument for characterizing and mapping minerals associated with playas. Results of such studies could help mitigate public health issues stemming from dust storm impacts, enhance agricultural efforts to counter soil salinity problems, and improve use of playas for vehicular transport.

Dr. Karl Fred Huemmrich from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will use HICO to monitor behavior (carbon fluxes and efficiency of light use) of terrestrial vegetation under varying environmental conditions. Results should improve understanding of ecosystem responses to environmental stress; for example, in the context of agriculture and forestry.

Dr. Robert Shuchman of Michigan Technological University and Dr. Richard Becker from the University of Toledo will collaborate on a project using HICO data to develop algorithms for monitoring water quality and algal species in the Great Lakes—with Becker to focus specifically on Lake Erie. These results may influence the assessment of the Great Lakes ecosystem and drinking/recreational water sources and also aid in determining the extent of algal blooms in this region that pose health risks.

"These awarded projects have the potential to yield important results and advancements through use of the unique vantage point of the ISS," said CASIS Director of Portfolio Management Warren Bates. "From the development of new sensors that will help us better understand our planet to the use of HICO images to improve human health and agricultural productivity, these projects represent a diverse set of investigations to ultimately improve life on Earth by using the ISS."

CASIS is continuing to maximize the functionality of the National Laboratory aboard the space station by identifying and interacting with commercial, academic, and governmental entities that can use the lab for terrestrial benefit.

For additional information about CASIS opportunities, including instructions on submitting a proposal, regularly visit http://www.iss-casis.org/solicitations

For more information about CASIS, visit http://www.iss-casis.org

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