ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station
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NASA's ECOSTRESS Mission Sees Plants 'Waking Up' From Space

Although plants don't sleep in the same way humans do, they have circadian rhythms — internal clocks that, like our own internal clocks, tell them when it's night and when it's day. And like many people, plants are less active at night. When the Sun comes up, they kick into gear, absorbing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide they draw from the air and water they draw from the soil into food, a process called photosynthesis. They also "sweat" excess water through pores on their leaves to cool themselves down, a process called evapotranspiration

NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) can see when plants "wake up" and begin these processes from space. The image above shows plants waking up (as evidenced by evapotranspiration) west of Lake Superior near the U.S.-Canada border. Plants in the red and pink areas began to awake at around 7 a.m. local time. Those in green areas awoke closer to 8 a.m., and those in blue areas, closer to 9 a.m....Read More

Drought-Stressed Forest Fueled Amazon Fires

A new satellite-based map of a section of the Amazon Basin reveals that at least some of the massive fires burning there this past summer were concentrated in water-stressed areas of the rainforest. The stressed plants released measurably less water vapor into the air than unstressed plants; in other words, they were struggling to stay cool and conserve water, leaving them more vulnerable to the fires.

The fires in the Amazon Basin, which continue to burn into November, are mainly the result of such human activities as land clearing and deforestation. The pattern - spotted from space by NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) - points to how water-stressed plants can impact the spread of fires. The data may one day help NASA's Earth-observing missions predict the path of future forest or brush fires like those currently raging in California.  Read More...

NASA's ECOSTRESS Detects Amazon Fires from Space

NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) captured imagery of fires in the Amazon regions of Brazil and Bolivia on Aug. 23, 2019. 

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica

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The red areas in the images — in eastern Bolivia and northern Brazil — are where surface temperatures exceeded the maximum measurable temperature of the instrument's sensor (approximately 220 degrees Fahrenheit, or 104 degrees Celsius), highlighting the burning areas along the fire fronts. The dark, wispy areas indicate thick smoke — thick enough to obscure much of the fire from view. The measurements cover areas of about 77 by 77 yards (70 by 70 meters) each, or about the size of a football field.  

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NASA Gauges Plant Stress in Costa Rican Drought - Image Advisory

Costa Rica

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NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) has imaged the stress on Costa Rican vegetation caused by a massive regional drought that led the Central American nation's government to declare a state of emergency on July 23.

Parts of Costa Rica have received 75% less rainfall than normal in the drought, which is the result of abnormal weather patterns accompanying an El Niño that began in November 2018. The drought’s effects were already visible to ECOSTRESS in February 2019, as the image shows.

Launched to the International Space Station in June 2018, ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of plants as they heat up when they run out of water. A key benefit of the instrument, in addition to providing information on surface temperature and plant water use, is its ability to detect droughts as they stress plants.

In Costa Rica, more intense drought conditions — shown in red colors in this image — are centered on the province of Guanacaste, part of a Central American tropical dry forest region called the Dry Corridor that is particularly sensitive to droughts. Normally very cloudy, Guanacaste had few clouds (appearing in light gray) when ECOSTRESS acquired this image.

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ECOSTRESS Captures European Heat Wave

European Heat Wave 

These maps of four European cities show ECOSTRESS surface temperature images acquired in the early mornings of June 27 and 28, 2019, during a heatwave. The images have been sharpened to delineate key features such as airports. Airports and city centers are hotter than surrounding regions because they have more surfaces that retain heat (asphalt, concrete, etc.).

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Europe's massive heat wave is on its way out — and it's leaving a slew of broken temperature records in its wake. Many countries were gripped by temperatures above 104 Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) between June 26 and June 30. According to the World Meteorological Organization, June 2019 is now the hottest month on record for the continent as a whole.

NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) measures Earth's surface temperature from the International Space Station at different times of day. Although its primary objective is to monitor the health of plants, ECOSTRESS can also detect heat events such as the one much of Europe just experienced.  Read More

ECOSTRESS Maps LA's Hot Spots

ECOSTRESS captured new imagery of variations in surface-temperature patterns in Los Angeles County.

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109   PHONE 818-354-5011

September 18, 2018

FEATURE: 2018-217

NASA's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) captured new imagery of variations in surface-temperature patterns in Los Angeles County. The first of its kind to be taken by one of the agency's newest Earth-observing mission, it is more detailed than previous imagery and, unlike prior imagery, was acquired at different times of the day.
LA scene

ECOSTRESS measures surface temperature -- the temperature you would feel if you touched the surface of something -- rather than the air temperature typically reported by weather stations. The images were acquired throughout the day between July 22 and Aug. 14 during an extended period of high temperatures in the Los Angeles area.

Cooler temperatures appear in blue, and warmer temperatures are shown in red. In the image taken July 22 at 4:07 a.m., the hottest (reddest) areas are dark asphalt surfaces that are unshaded during the day and remain warm throughout the night. They include freeways, airports, oil refineries and parking lots. The cool (blue) areas are clouds and higher-elevation mountainous regions (dark blue).  ...Read More

LA heat area

NASA’s ‘Space Botanist’ Observes California, Nevada Wildfires

ECOSTRESS has captured new imagery of three wildfires burning in California and Nevada.

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109   PHONE 818-354-5011

August 2, 2018

FEATURE: 2018-185

NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) has captured new imagery of three wildfires burning in California and Nevada -- the first image of its kind to be taken by the agency’s newest Earth-observing mission.

Main Fire scene

ECOSTRESS’ primary mission is to detect plant health by monitoring Earth’s surface temperature from the vantage point of the International Space Station. However, it can also detect other heat-related phenomenon -- like heat waves, volcanoes and fires.

The new image, acquired on July 28, captures three wildfires -- the Carr and Whaleback fires in California, and the Perry Fire in Nevada. Surface temperatures above 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) are shown in red, highlighting the burning areas along the fire fronts. Zooming in on the Carr and Perry fires shows the heat data in more detail, and also the very distinct smoke plumes the fires are producing. The measurements have a ground resolution of nearly 77 yards by 77 yards (70 meters by 70 meters) ...Read More

Carr Fire

Perry Fire

SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft -- with NASA’s ECOSTRESS in tow

Three days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft -- with NASA’s ECOSTRESS in tow -- was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 6:52 a.m. PDT (9:52 a.m. EDT) on Monday, July 2. 

ECOSTRESS will be taken off the Dragon spacecraft and robotically installed on the exterior of the station's Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit on Thursday night/Friday morning. Read More

NASA’s 'Space Botanist' Gathers First Data

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109   PHONE 818-354-5011

July 23, 2018

NEWS RELEASE: 2018-172

Just days after its successful installation on the International Space Station, NASA's newest Earth-observing mission, the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS), has collected its first science data on Earth’s surface temperature.

First Light

ECOSTRESS acquired this image the night of July 9 over Egypt. Yellow and red indicate generally higher temperatures. The River Nile is visible as a thin blue line on the main image. The black-and-white inset shows the level of detail available from ECOSTRESS, with the relatively cool Nile River and surrounding vegetation appearing darker. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space, enabling researchers to determine how much water plants use and to study how droughts affect plant health. ...Read More

ECOSTRESS Successfully Installed on Space Station

Updated at 11 a.m. PDT on July 6, 2018. 

NASA’s ECOSTRESS was removed from the Dragon spacecraft and robotically installed on the exterior of the space station's Japanese Experiment Module -Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) late Thursday, July 5. Functional testing is expected to begin next week.... Read More

ECOSTRESS on JEM-EF

Four Other Things ECOSTRESS Can See

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109   PHONE 818-354-5011

June 28, 2018

FEATURE: 2018-152

NASA's Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is designed to study how plants respond to heat and water stress by measuring the temperature of Earth's vegetation at all times of day with an accuracy of a few tenths of a degree.

Unusual heat can be a warning sign of important changes and concerns in many fields of research besides botany. Here are four other areas where ECOSTRESS's precise temperature measurements could make a difference...Read More

Watching Plants' Water Use Is No Sweat for ECOSTRESS

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109   PHONE 818-354-5011

June 25, 2018

FEATURE: 2018-146

When you're working outside on a hot day, you probably have trouble staying hydrated. Heat affects how plants work just as it affects how you work. How plants respond to today's warming world is one of the key science questions NASA's new Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) mission aims to answer....Read More

SpaceX CRS-15 Briefings and Events

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALTECH
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109
PHONE 818-354-5011

ADVISORY: 2018-145b

NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 2:42 a.m. PDT (5:42 a.m. EDT) Friday, June 29, for the launch of its 15th resupply mission to the International Space Station. The cargo includes ECOSTRESS, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. ECOSTRESS measures the temperature of plants to better understand how much water plants need and how they respond to stress.

Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency's website Thursday, June 28, with prelaunch events....Read More

New NASA Mission to Detect Plant Water Use from Space

Doctors learn a lot about their patients’ health by taking their temperature. An elevated temperature, or fever, can be a sign of illness. The same goes for plants, but their temperatures on a global scale are harder to measure than the temperatures of individual people. 

That’s about to change, thanks to a new NASA instrument that soon will be installed on the International Space Station called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station. ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space. This will enable researchers to determine plant water use and to study how drought conditions affect plant health. .... Read More

ECOSTRESS Among Science Payloads on Next Space Station Mission - 12June2018

A new batch of science is headed to the International Space Stationaboard the SpaceX Dragon on the company's 15th mission for commercial resupply services, scheduled for launch June 29 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.... Read More

Artificial Intelligence, Cancer Therapy and Chemical Gardens Aboard SpaceX Dragon for Station Resupply Mission

and ECOSTRESS! A new batch of science is headed to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon on the company’s 15th mission for commercial resupply services. The spacecraft will deliver science that studies the use of artificial intelligence, plant water use all over the planet, gut health in space, more efficient drug development and the formation of inorganic structures without the influence of Earth’s gravity.

New NASA Insights into the Secret Lives of Plants

Taking the temperature of plants

Knowing how much vegetation is present on Earth does not indicate whether or not that vegetation is healthy. How vegetation changes due to stresses caused by water availability is the key science question to be addressed by JPL's ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) mission.

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NASA's ECOSTRESS Will Monitor Plant Health

A new space-based instrument to study how effectively plants use water is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. The instrument, called the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS), will monitor one of the most basic processes in living plants: the loss of water through the tiny pores in leaves.

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