ECOSTRESS Will Measure the Temperature of Plants from Space

ECOSTRESS Will Measure the Temperature of Plants from Space

NASA new mission that is called ECOSTRESS, or ECOsystem Spaceborne soon will be installed on the International Space Station. This is a mission when ECOSTRESS will measure the temperature of plants from space. This will allow researchers to determine plant water use and to study how drought conditions affect plant health. Scientists will have a chance to use that temperature data to better understand how much water plants need.

“Plants draw in water from the soil, and as they are heated by the Sun, the water is released through pores on the plants’ leaves through a process called transpiration. This cools the plant down, much as sweating does in humans. However, if there is not enough water available to the plants, they close their pores to conserve water, causing their temperatures to rise” indicates NASA.

ECOSTRESS data shows these changes in plants’ temperatures, that will provide insight into their health and water use while there is still time for water managers to correct agricultural water imbalances.

“When a plant is so stressed that it turns brown, it’s often too late for it to recover,” said Simon Hook, ECOSTRESS principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “But measuring the temperature of the plant lets you see that a plant is stressed before it reaches that point.”

“ECOSTRESS will allow us to monitor rapid changes in crop stress at the field level, enabling earlier and more accurate estimates of how yields will be impacted,” said Martha Anderson, an ECOSTRESS science team member with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. “Even short-term moisture stress, if it occurs during a critical stage of crop growth, can significantly impact productivity.”

Over the next year, ECOSTRESS will use the space station’s unique low Earth orbit to collect data over multiple areas of land at different times of day.

Source: NASA