ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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Welcome to ECOSTRESS


Stellar Award

We are so pleased to inform you that the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation has selected the ECOsystem Space-borne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station Team as a 2020 RNASA Stellar Award winner for "Outstanding technical excellence in the development and demonstration of the ECOSTRESS instrument for studying plant water dynamics on Earth from the International Space Station".

The RNASA Stellar Awards were established in 1989, and nominations are requested each year from across the U.S. space industry, including government and contractor organizations from coast to coast. Each Stellar Award nomination is reviewed and ranked by the prestigious members of our Stellar Award Ranking Committee, and final selections are made by the RNASA Foundation. Just to be nominated is truly an honor because each organization has its own competitive selection processes to identify and recognize top achievers. To rise to the top of such a distinguished group is a tremendous accomplishment. This year, we had a total of 147 Stellar Award nominees across all categories, including both teams and individuals. In your category, in which there were 33 nominations, only 6 winners were selected.


News Flash: ECOSTRESS has now acquired over 220,000 scenes (after In Orbit Checkout)

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.

An experiment on @iss is mapping temperatures of plants, urban areas and wildfires on earth. Listen to how it works and how these data help the planet on "Houston We Have a Podcast." 

NASA Podcast

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