Latest press release from US space agency NASA has revealed about one of NASA’s most ambitious projects; a new camera installation on the International Space Station which will assist human astronauts in keeping up with the disaster zones on Earth.
The project is being administered from the Huntsville, Alabama-based Marshall Space Flight Center.
While briefing the project, the manager of the SERVIR (acronym of Serve, in Spanish) program, Dan Irwin, claimed that the ISERV will be involved in capturing images on the ISS which will offer the deepest assistance in the study of a variety of activities taking place on the green planet.
The images will offer priceless information regarding the disaster zones on Earth. In addition, the images will help in conceptualizing and decoding crucial information and data from various disasters associated with humanitarian calamities.
The camera features intelligent optical resolution
It is extremely sharp, powerful and has been designed specifically for spotting relatively smaller objects from the space. It is good enough to capture objects as small as cows on Earth. The optical resolution of the camera has been fabricated especially for the said purpose, and that’s how it will prove extremely effective in studying the amplified consequences of climatic fluctuations on life at Earth.
“The camera’s nominal resolution is 2.8 meters. That’s about the size of a cow, although we may be able to sense the presence of smaller targets, down to the size of a person,” acclaimed a science expert with SERVIR, Burgess Howell.
Meanwhile, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency is busy making final arrangements for the scheduled July 21 launch of the camera by its HTV-3 spaceship from southern Japan.
However, the initialization of the camera aboard ISS will only begin in November.
About the Pathfinder
The camera, dubbed Pathfinder, will be used for capturing images of landslides, floods, forest fires and other similar calamities taking place on Earth with the intent of analyzing and limiting such happenings in future.
A prototype designed and developed by NASA in collaboration with the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Pathfinder is capable of capturing images at seven frames-per-second (fps) in bursts of six to second.
Also, it can provide assistance in the estimation and assessment of destroyed buildings along with their location.
To boot, it can capture around 40 to 60 pictures of a particular area during an overhead passage; while the ISS takes 90 minutes to complete one orbit around the Earth.
The camera is powered by purposefully developed software that can help in estimating the best viewing possibilities for a definite region down on Earth; for which, it carried out detailed analysis of the location of space station in orbit, its direction, altitude as well as path.