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Assessment of the NASA Applied Sciences Program
FIGURE 1.1 Sample data types collected with different NASA satellite sensors over the eastern seaboard of North America. (A) ”True color” image of data collected on April 13, 2003 with the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) instrument on the Terra satellite launched in 1999. (B) Phytoplankton pigment concentration data collected with the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). This instrument captured the biological signature of the dynamic ocean surface conditions along the same part of the eastern coast of the United States as that in (A) also on Sunday, 13 April 2003. Both images are based on visible radiance (color) measurements collected in multiple bands with each sensor, but processed in different ways. The MODIS image combined three bands (red, green, and blue) so that the green vegetation of the Carolinas becomes apparent, while the Appalachian Mountains appear brown. The ocean in the SeaWiFS image was constructed using ratios between blue and green bands; this ratio becomes smaller with higher concentrations of marine phytoplankton or of colored riverine discharge in coastal zones. High biomass is indicated by reds and yellows, while greens and blues show lower biomass. Both sensors measured sunlight reflected from the Earth after being absorbed and scattered by the land or the ocean. SOURCE: (A) NASA Visible Earth–http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=5292 (B) NASA Ocean Color Archive–http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/image_archive.cgi?c=CHLOROPHYLL
While many portions of the NASA organization conduct applied research using Earth observation data, a specified unit within NASA has, since the 1970s, been tasked with ensuring the transfer of NASA Earth observation data and associated research into practical applications for society through external private and federal partnerships. The NASA Applied Sciences Program (ASP) currently fulfills this bridging role between NASA data and observations and external partners who apply those data. The ASP has operated in its present structure since 2001. Table 1.1 lists the historical predecessors to the current program. NASA’s draft plan for ASP was reviewed by the National Research Council (NRC, 2002a), and NASA refined its draft plan in response to the NRC report (NASA, 2004). This Earth Science Applications Plan