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NASA Selects University of Maryland, Jet Propulsion Lab for Earth Venture Instrument Program

International Space StationNASA has selected proposals from the University of Maryland and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to build instruments for the International Space Station that will be used to observe the global vegetation.

UMD will develop the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation Lidar for up to $94 million while JPL will build the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station for as much as $30 million, NASA said Wednesday.

“We are excited to expand the use of the International Space Station to make critical Earth observations that will help scientists understand the diversity of forests and vegetation and their response to a changing climate,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

The above instruments were selected out of 20 proposals for the agency’s Earth Venture Instrument program as part of the larger Earth System Science Pathfinder program managed by the Langley Research Center.

The UMD team targets 2019 to complete the GEDI Lidar, a laser-based instrument for establishing the factors to changes in the natural carbon storage.

It is led by Ralph Dubayah and will partner with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Woods Hole Research Center, the U.S. Forest Service and Brown University.

The JPL team aims to complete the ECOSTRESS instrument by 2018, with the high-resolution multiple-wavelength imaging spectrometer expected to determine the relationship between water cycle and plant growth.

Simon Hook will lead this team and work with the Agriculture Department, Princeton University and the University of Idaho.

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