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NASA Satellite Watches Plants Change Over Seasons

by Michael Keller

NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite keeps a vigilant eye on the herbal Earth. A representation of its work—a compilation of vegetation data taken over the course of a year—is below.

The satellite’s visible and infrared light sensor records the reflection of sunlight off vegetation to understand how plants sprouting and shedding their leaves change the land.

While interesting to watch on its own, this data is folded into an analytical tool called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, which is used for environmental modeling and weather prediction. 

Top Image: Ecuador’s rainforest via Shutterstock.

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