Applied Sciences Program

Using Earth Observations to Solve the Planet’s Most Pressing Issues

NASA Earth’s Applied Sciences Program helps people across the world use NASA data to solve big problems right here on Earth. We provide support and funding to help institutions and individuals make better decisions about our environment, food, water, health and safety.

Program Highlights


A New Era of Combating Disease Made Possible with Earth Observations

Disease-tracking research is now entering a new era: practical use by international health and relief teams. As ever-more advanced Earth-observing satellites track the temperature, precipitation, and vegetation conditions linked with certain diseases, researchers are creating models that better assess the likelihood of disease outbreaks and health organizations are using that information to plan disease response.

Puerto Rican Health and Weather Experts Now Have an Early Warning System for When Saharan Dust Affects Air Quality

Dust from the Sahara Desert loves to travel – it can ride air currents for 6,000 miles or more across the Atlantic Ocean,?arriving in the U.S. and Caribbean islands and in large quantities it can dangerously affect air quality. That’s why advance notice of the dust’s arrival can make a big difference. Now Puerto Rico has a new early warning system that includes NASA satellite data that tracks the dust, enabling local health officials to warn residents up to three days in advance.

Satellite Detection of Algal "Blooms" Results in Healthcare Cost Savings

As Americans head to the shores and lakefronts this summer, NASA Earth Applied Sciences-funded researchers announce a new framework for quantifying the socioeconomic benefits of using Earth-observing satellite data to track potentially harmful algal blooms and manage recreational advisories at freshwater lakes.

Turning Water into Wine in California Vineyards

When it comes to tracking and conserving water for their vineyards, E&J Gallo — the largest producer of California wines — is using an out-of-this-world approach. The Grape Remote sensing Atmospheric Profile and Evapotranspiration eXperiment (GRAPEX) is a collaboration between E&J Gallo, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service and NASA’s Earth Applied Sciences Program. It gives vineyard managers access to NASA satellite data to better understand soil and vine moisture levels, track rates of vine water use and support accurate calculation of irrigation requirements within each vineyard.

NASA-Supported Techniques are "Best Practice" for UN Disaster Risk Reduction Guidelines

More than 925,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in Bangladesh, but the camps they stay in are at risk from deadly landslides, especially during monsoon season. Decision makers there are using NASA Earth observations to inform which areas are most at risk – and now, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has incorporated these practices into a set of recommendations.

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