The revolutionary development of information, computer and space technologies between the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century has brought about qualitative changes in the field of terrestrial remote sensing: we now have spacecraft with new generation imaging systems that allow us to obtain images with ultra-high spatial resolution. Now space monitoring is one of the most successful and dynamically developing innovative industries.
Space is the ideal vantage point for exploring the Earth. Earth remote sensing technologies (ERS) from space are an indispensable tool for studying and constantly monitoring our planet, land surface, ocean surface and atmosphere, to help use and manage its resources effectively. Modern remote sensing technologies are used in almost all areas of our life.
They can be used for detection and monitoring of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, fires and landslides, providing valuable information for action on response and recovery. They allow us to offer unique solutions to ensure safety, increase the efficiency of exploration and extraction of natural resources, introduce the latest practices in agriculture, prevent emergencies and eliminate their consequences, protect the environment and control climate change. .
The data collected on the atmosphere also attest to the complexity of the Earth. Atmosphere monitoring doesn’t bring much better news. Nitrogen dioxide is a poisonous and polluting substance. It favors the acidification of rain and fresh water. Observations from satellites clearly show that nitrogen dioxide emissions are closely related to the presence of a highly industrialized population.
Currently, around two hundred civilian spacecraft are operational in several orbits near the Earth, equipped with radar, scatterometers, radiometers, spectroradiometers, altimeters and optical equipment operating in different frequency ranges. All have been launched into orbit specifically to obtain versatile meteorological and geophysical information necessary for assessing the state of the environment, monitoring weather and climate, as well as research on the state of natural resources and prospecting for minerals. These satellites are owned by several dozen national and international space agencies. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are leaders in terms of the amount and volume of information transmitted.
Remote sensing satellites are used, among other things, for purposes such as assessing damage during natural disasters, assessing crops, mapping surface geology and mineral deposits, and surveying water sources. Remote sensing spacecraft operate at different altitudes in low Earth orbit and provide valuable data on the chemical, physical and biological aspects of the Earth system.
Various methods of remote sensing of the Earth via satellite have found application both in the scientific field and in applied industries. Here are some areas of remote sensing:
• monitoring and forecasting of the state of the atmosphere and oceans;
• ice cover monitoring;
• information support of the heliogeophysical service;
• evaluation of the probability of occurrence, monitoring and evaluation of the consequences of dangerous natural phenomena and emergencies;
• study of climatic, oceanic and landscape changes based on observations of cloud cover, concentration of greenhouse gases, ozone layer, snow and ice cover, ocean temperature and color, vegetation cover, radiation balance;
• study of climate and climatic factors;
• mapping of air, soil and ocean pollution parameters;
• assessment of areas at risk for the spread of contamination, including radioactive;
• measurement of the surface temperature and the level of the oceans and pollution;
• assessment of the state of forest resources, age and species composition of forests;
• monitoring of illegal deforestation and monitoring of the state of particularly protected natural areas.
In addition to a wide range of applications, the advantage of active sensors for remote sensing of the Earth is the almost total absence of restrictions on operating conditions. Active remote sensing sensors are fully functional at any time of the day, as their work does not depend on sunlight. In addition, atmospheric diffusion does not relatively affect the sound quality of active remote sensing equipment.
It is no longer possible to live on Earth without space.
The Earth observation industry is constantly evolving and in the future we will see the integration of new information technologies and remote sensing methods with the transfer of data processing to space platforms. There is a growing demand for Earth observation data to solve global population problems, climate change, natural disasters, as well as to prevent and combat man-made emergencies and disasters. There is a need to collect remote sensing data at various scales, even small and large, the need to reduce the time intervals to observe the same part of the earth’s surface or an object is increasing. That is, humanity needs accurate information based on large remote sensing data, without which it is impossible to build a digital Earth.