Monday, March 2, 2009

NASA, Cisco Develop "Planetary Skin" for Climate Monitoring

NASA and Cisco have formed a partnership to develop a "Planetary Skin" -- an online collaborative global monitoring platform designed to capture, collect, analyze and report data on environmental conditions around the world. NASA provides continuous global observations of the planet using a constellation of spacecraft, as well as airborne and in situ ground instruments. Cisco will bring its experience and expertise in networking technologies and advanced innovation to the project.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, NASA and Cisco will work together to develop the Planetary Skin as an online collaborative platform to capture and analyze data from satellite, airborne, sea- and land-based sensors across the globe. This data will be made available for the general public, governments and businesses to measure, report and verify environmental data in near-real-time to help detect and adapt to global climate change.

Cisco and NASA will kick off Planetary Skin with a series of pilot projects, including "Rainforest Skin," which will be prototyped during the next year. Rainforest Skin will focus on the deforestation of rainforests around the world and explore how to integrate a comprehensive sensor network. It also will examine how to capture, analyze and present information about the changes in the amount of carbon in rainforests in a transparent and useable way. According to scientists, the destruction of rainforests causes more carbon to be added to the atmosphere and remain there. That contributes significantly to global warming.