ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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Welcome to ECOSTRESS


News Flash: ECOSTRESS has now acquired over 330,000 scenes (after In Orbit Checkout)

Announcement: 10-12 May 2023 International Workshop on High Resolution Thermal EO, Frascati (Rome) Italy.

Announcement: Mark your calendar for the 2023 - ECOSTRESS Science and Applications Team Meeting - Oct 17 - 19.

ECOSTRESS is addressing  three overarching science questions:

  • How is the terrestrial biosphere responding to changes in water availability?
  • How do changes in diurnal vegetation water stress impact the global carbon cycle?
  • Can agricultural vulnerability be reduced through advanced monitoring of agricultural water consumptive use and improved drought estimation?

The ECOSTRESS mission is answering these questions by accurately measuring the temperature of plants.  Plants regulate their temperature by releasing water through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata.  If they have sufficient water they can maintain their temperature, but if there is insufficient water, their temperatures rise and this temperature rise can be measured with ECOSTRESS.  The images acquired by ECOSTRESS are the most detailed temperature images of the surface ever acquired from space and can be used to measure the temperature of an individual farmers field.

One of the core products that will be produced by ECOSTRESS team is the Evaporative Stress Index (ESI). ESI is a leading drought indicator - it can indicate that plants are stressed and that a drought is likely to occur providing the option for decision makers to take action.

NASA's ECOSTRESS instrument shows Evapotranspiration (ET) - Aug 2018 versus Aug 2022

Garden City, Kansas, is a city in the Great Plains region of the United States. It is economically driven by agriculture, and there is stark contrast between the natural semi-arid steppe climate and the irrigated agricultural fields. These evapotranspiration (ET) images produced by ECOSTRESS in August of 2018 and 2022, respectively, show high ET (blue) over the pivot irrigation circles, illustrating that the crops are releasing small amounts of water as they photosynthesize, indicating healthy vegetation. The unmanaged background is clearly drier and more stressed (tan colors) in 2022 compared to 2018, showing the impact of sustained drought.



ECOSTRESS is a thermal instrument on the International Space Station that measures the temperature of plants, and uses that to understand plant stress. It was launched to the space station in 2018. Its primary mission is to identify critical thresholds of water use and water stress in plants and to detect the timing, location, and predictive factors leading to plant water uptake decline and/or cessation.

The ECOSTRESS mission launched to the International Space Station on June29, 2018. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. For information on Earth science activities aboard the International Space Station, visit: ISS Earth Science