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Welcome to Surface Biology and Geology study

NASA has initiated a new study for the Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) Designated Observable, identified in the 2018 National Academies’ Decadal Survey entitled, “Thriving on Our Changing Planet:  A Decadal Strategy for Earth Observation from Space.” 

The Decadal Survey presented a clear direction on SBG Observing priorities:

  • Terrestrial vegetation physiology, functional traits, and health
  • Inland and coastal aquatic ecosystems physiology, functional traits, and health
  • Snow and ice accumulation, melting, and albedo
  • Active surface changes (eruptions, landslides, evolving landscapes, hazard risks)
  • Effects of changing land use on surface energy, water, momentum, and C fluxes
  • Managing agriculture, natural habitats, water use/quality, and urban development

The SBG Study has three objectives:

  1. Identify and characterize a diverse set of high value SBG observing architectures
  2. Assess the performance and cost effectiveness of architectures against SBG research and applications objectives
  3. Perform sufficient in-depth design of one or more candidate architectures to enable near-term science return

The SBG Study is currently in the first phase of identifying as many feasible observing architectures as possible that achieve the Decadal Survey science objectives, including system concepts from a HyspIRI precursor study, as well as new ideas and advances with instrument technologies.  Candidate architectures will include small-sat and medium class concepts, and industry and foreign partnerships.

SBG overall assessment will include:

  • Science and Applications Traceability Matrices (SATM): ESAS and HyspIRI provide well-defined observables and products
  • SATM Science Objectives, required capabilities and applications are traceable and provide performance criteria in the Value Framework
  • Value Framework will assess each candidate architecture by performance, cost and risk value criteria
  • Selected architectures from the Value Framework will then be further developed in preparation to support a Mission Concept Review (MCR)

A Research and Applications (R&A) team has been developed to include four working groups: Applications, Algorithms, Modeling and Calibration / Validation.  A parallel team is envisioning candidate architectures for implementing observing system concepts, exploring capabilities from program of records and recent opportunities. 

The boarder objective of this study is to engage the broader science community and explore potential partnerships with commercial and international organizations.  

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