Did you know that coastal ecosystems support humanity in many ways? Say you live in a coastal city or town, and your coastline becomes over-run with algae, or the marine life around your corals and shores dies, tourism, fisheries, and human health would become impacted.
And this isn't just a concern for those living in coastal spots as it affects everyone globally.
This is why NASA has also decided to take the sustainability matter seriously and launch a space-based instrument under its Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) section. The tool will monitor what's happening on our coasts to help protect them.
Unique observations of coasts from space to aid sustainability
The instrument, referred to as Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer, or GLIMR in short, is going to be able to provide unique views of ocean biology, chemistry and ecology specifically in the Gulf of Mexico, sections of the Southeastern part of the U.S., and the Amazon river where it enters into the Atlantic Ocean.
The principal investigator of the project is Joseph Salisbury, from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, U.S.
NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, said: "This innovative instrument from the University of New Hampshire, selected by NASA, will provide a powerful new tool for studying important ecosystems."
Congrats @UofNH! We’ve selected their instrument to fly in space and contribute to @NASAEarth research. Named GLIMR, this instrument will help us understand coastal ecosystems and will yield economic benefits to fisheries, tourism and recreation. Details: https://t.co/xm07wx9iBX pic.twitter.com/VpMopaLJY1— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) August 1, 2019
Bridenstine continued, "Its findings also will bring economic benefits to fisheries, tourism and recreation in the coastline area."
GLIMR and EVI
As exciting as this news may be, it won't be happening quite so soon.
The plan is for GLIMR to be launched in the 2026-2027 timeframe from one of NASA's selected platforms and sent up into a geosynchronous orbit.
From there, the instrument will be able to monitor a wide area, up to 15 hours each day.
One of GLIMR's most prized capability is its ability to study coastal phytoplankton blooms or oil spills in such a manner that isn't possible from low-orbiting satellites.
Furthermore, it'll add to the information already gathering from low-Earth orbit satellites that watch over our oceans.
"With GLIMR, scientists can better understand coastal regions and develop advanced predictive tools for these economically and ecologically important systems," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate of NASA Headquarters.
We’ve selected @UofNH’s GLIMR instrument to contribute to @NASAEarth research. Congrats! This instrument will study the life cycle of coastal phytoplankton blooms and oil spills in a way not possible from a satellite in a low-Earth orbit. Find out more: https://t.co/693MIJ3nof pic.twitter.com/puGyYjGPG1— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) August 1, 2019
EVI has been investigating specific scientific investigations to complement NASA's more important Earth-observing satellite missions.
NASA has been using its unique vantage points from space to increase our knowledge of our planet, to improve our lives and our futures.
GLIMR will be adding to the safety of our coastal ecosystems.