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Space - The Space Problem: NASA Helps Solve 21st Century Problems |  lifestyles

Space – The Space Problem: NASA Helps Solve 21st Century Problems | lifestyles

Another environmentally friendly innovation from NASA is the forest restoration toolkit they have used for the past 40 years.

Since 1972, Landsat satellite data has been helping scientists working with the US Forest Service. Landsat has played an important role in studying the effects of forest restoration after both fires and volcanic activity, such as the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The data calculates and shows tree cover and vegetation as it grows back after these events.

Other related innovations in mapping technologies include the US Forest Service’s Remote Sensing Laboratory in McClellan, California, according to NASA. The Forest Service uses special charts issued by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (AVIRIS) Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) that uses images in visible light.

Another tool for JPL, MOdisASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) shows a forest fire in thermal infrared light, allowing it to see the heat generated by such events. MASTER data displays high-resolution images identifying individual trees in the forest; The more data, the better.

Since many horrific fires cause erosion due to the burning of stable vegetation, the maps provide an inventory of what a particular area has experienced, identifying dead and living areas in the forest. Efforts on these projects at UC Davis, along with nongovernmental agencies, have helped eliminate wildfire risks, clean up destroyed wood, and create an inventory of plant life to aid in reforestation plans.