NASA's Earth observation satellites will be used to examine soil health and crop performance as part of an unusual partnership.
An extraordinary collaboration aims to bring agriculture into the space age. NASA has in fact partnered with a company called CropX to exploit its satellites in the fight for food security and sustainable development.
NASA has long had a unique perspective on the world thanks to its constellation of Earth observation satellites. Satellite imagery, which is invaluable in tracking the earth's evolution over time and providing a snapshot of things like crop health and distribution, helps scientists make important observations about the climate and agricultural practices. Through a program known as NASA Harvest, the space agency has worked to capitalize on these observations for food security and sustainable agriculture.
In this task, the agency is now supported by CropX, a company specializing in soil analysis for agriculture, thanks to its proprietary technology of soil sensors and cloud-based agricultural analyzes that integrate with agricultural systems irrigation. With CropX's soil data monitoring and NASA's Earth Observation Satellite Network, NASA Harvest believes it can deliver vital information to governments and farmers around the world.
Agricultural intelligence"Soil health and nutrient management are at the heart of food security and sustainable agriculture concerns - a precise understanding of what is really going on below the soil is essential," says Nadav Liebermann, CTO of CropX.
“Satellite imagery has long been an integral part of CropX's algorithms, and our partnership with NASA Harvest will provide valuable agronomic information by connecting critical data at various depths underground and from a vast array of satellites in space. We look forward to working with the NASA Harvest team to improve agricultural decision-making around the world - in developed and undeveloped regions,” he argues.
This collaboration is part of a wave of new techniques known collectively as "precision farming" or "agricultural intelligence". This technological intervention is important because the stakes are increasing. Around the world, farmers lose an estimated $ 750 billion from lost crops each year. About a third of all food grown is lost. For decades, the solution has been the heavy use of herbicides and fertilizers, but there is growing concern about the sustainability of current industrial farming practices.
Intelligent analyzesThat's where smart analyzes, like those used in the NASA-CropX partnership, come in. So far, the partnership has started with tests in alfalfa fields in Arizona.
The pilot program will rapidly establish the parameters for water consumption estimates, yield predictions, soil quality and land use assessments based on multiple crop growth cycles.
"We are in a constant race to produce and provide enough food to feed a rapidly growing world population, with limited land and natural resources. NASA Harvest is committed to working with the best innovators to make the best possible use of our agricultural land; CropX brings together our spatial vision with intelligence and on-farm results, ”says Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef, program director of NASA Harvest.