Building on the initial results from preliminary tests carried out in the Czech Republic in 2012 to support the development of the candidate FLEX mission, where plant florescence from a field treated with herbicide was measured and compared to a field left untreated, scientists headed to Italy in 2014 to repeat the exercise. The 2014 experiment was carried out in a more controlled manner using different agents affecting different parts of the photosynthetic machinery.
The FLEX mission aims to provide global maps of vegetation fluorescence, which can be converted into an indicator of photosynthetic activity. These data would improve our understanding of how much carbon is stored in plants and their role in the carbon and water cycles. By detecting abnormal peaks of florescence from space, FLEX could also offer early warning of stress in plants that may appear healthy to the eye.
Read article: Plant power from above