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A "Disastercam" for the ISS

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Of all the hundreds of spacecraft and satellites in Earth orbit, few can match the International Space Station for its view of the big blue marble below. Scientists would like to put that spectacular view to good use – by having the ISS photograph disasters, both natural and manmade, in progress on the Earth below.

Thanks to a collaboration between the NASA/USAID program known as SERVIR within NASA’s Applied Sciences Program, and NASA’s ISS program, the station will be outfitted with a new instrument – part of a system called ISERV – and equipped with a prototype automated camera which could image areas threatened by floods, landslides, forest fires, or other disasters.

At this point, ISERV is specifically intended to help scientists gain the experience and expertise to deploy an operational system in the future, and to inform its design. Ideally, a future operational system, and perhaps ISERV Pathfinder itself, will be able to monitor Earthly disasters.

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