NASA and USDA partner to monitor environmental conditions

July 17, 2015

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — The agreement should also encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and agriculture.

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have entered into a partnership to allow better prediction of wildfires and monitoring of droughts from space, according to a press release.

The agreement should also encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and agriculture, noted the release.

“Space is a unique laboratory that can be a gateway to solving some of the greatest agricultural challenges of our time,” said USDA Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden in the release. “This partnership is a powerful opportunity for USDA and NASA to yield new tools and techniques to help farmers and ranchers as they deal with the ongoing impacts of climate change and drought. Perhaps most importantly, this partnership will expose more young people to the power of science and innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Through the partnership, USDA and NASA will cooperate more on space-borne remote sensing efforts to gather soil moisture data, stated the release. The practice could lead to a series of soil moisture maps to provide a drought early-warning system for farmers, especially those in California.

“There are many areas where NASA and USDA have overlapping interests,” shared NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman in the release. “We can now better coordinate and build on the resources of both NASA and the USDA to help learn more about our planet’s vital resources and inspire the next generation to become better stewards of our planet.”

USDA will have greater access to data from NASA satellites as well, reported the release. The data will aid in the detection and prediction of wildfire behavior.

You can find the entire release here.

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