UNH has received the biggest NASA award in its history – close to $108 million – for a space-based instrument that will make observations of coastal waters to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity.
The selected Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument, led by principal investigator Joseph Salisbury at UNH, Durham, will provide unique observations of ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico, portions of the southeastern United States coastline, and the Amazon River plume – where the waters of the Amazon River enter the Atlantic Ocean.
“This innovative instrument from the University of New Hampshire, selected by NASA, will provide a powerful new tool for studying important ecosystems,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Its findings also will bring economic benefits to fisheries, tourism, and recreation in the coastline area.”
The instrument was competitively selected from eight proposals considered under NASA’s fifth Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) solicitation released in 2018, with an award of $107.9 million. Salisbury and his team have proposed the instrument as a hosted payload, for which NASA will provide access to space.
“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 at NASA Headquarters.
EVI investigations are small, targeted science investigations that complement NASA’s larger Earth-observing satellite missions. They provide innovative approaches for addressing Earth science research with regular windows of opportunity to accommodate new scientific priorities. The investigations are cost-capped and schedule constrained. The missions are managed by the Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) program office at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for the Earth Science Division under the Science Mission Directorate.
The first two Earth Venture Instruments were launched in 2018 and are operational on the International Space Station. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is measuring the vertical structure of forests, canopy heights, and their changes – on a global scale – providing insights into how forests are affected by environmental change and human intervention. The ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is measuring the temperature of plants – information that will improve understanding of how much water plants need and how they respond to stresses such as drought.
For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit www.nasa.gov/earth