From: Battelle Memorial Institute
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2022
Battelle, which manages the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) program, is now using Starlink in a pilot test to achieve improved data transmission and service as part of an ongoing initiative to leverage new and innovative technologies to improve and enhance the operations of NEON.
The NSF’s NEON collects data about plants, animals, soil, nutrients, fresh water and the atmosphere in a range of U.S. ecological and climatically diverse areas through a system of field sites.
Many of the NEON sites are in remote settings, so getting the data from the field to the scientists can be a challenge. Dedicated to ensuring efficient and cost-effective transmission of the scientific data from the field sites Battelle installed a Starlink high-speed, low-latency satellite communication system at its Rocky Mountain National Park NEON tower site in Colorado.
NEON data from the site, near Rocky Mountain National Park, is now being sent up to Starlink satellites and back down to the NEON data portal for scientists to use.
“Leveraging this new technology promises to enable faster and more reliable communication of data from NEON sites for incorporation into the NEON open-data system,” said Paula Mabee, NEON Chief Scientist and Observatory Director. “In turn, this will enable scientists to better study and understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing, while at the same time making the Observatory more efficient.”
“The use of Starlink satellites for the NSF/NEON program demonstrates clearly how the new commercial space industry can benefit science and our understanding of climate and biodiversity changes,” said John Grunsfeld, former Astronaut and NASA Associate Administrator for Science. “The ability to reach remote areas nearly anywhere on planet Earth promises to enable new opportunities for science and exploration.”
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