Innovative vegetation monitor now up in the sky with Proba-V

Proba-V satellite
7 May 2013

A newcomer has joined ESA’s Earth Observation fleet with the launch of Proba-V, an innovative and new miniaturised satellite that will track vegetation on a global scale. Its data will provide researchers, educators and students with new data and images, helping us understand more about our own environment.

The ‘V’ in its name stands for vegetation. Vegetation data show scientists different land cover types and plant species, including crops. Their health status can be  revealed this way, and water bodies and vegetation burn scars can be detected.

Vegetation swath

Proba–V will  provide snapshots of land cover across continental scales almost every day. These data will be used to assess the impact of climate on vegetation,  manage  surface water resources,  monitor agriculture, and estimate food security across the planet, especially in the least developed areas.

Further to being a fundamental tool for scientists, data and images from European Earth Observation missions can be used by teachers and students to address a wide range of curricular topics such as water and life on Earth, environmental changes, weather, climate, urbanisation, global disasters, and so on. 

The use of satellite images brings students closer to real, modern scientific research, and is also a powerful way to inspire and motivate them to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies and, eventually, careers.

Aral sea monitored by Vegetation

ESA’s Eduspace portal encourages teachers to use Earth Observation satellite data in their daily lessons by providing ready-made projects and exercises,(e.g.case studies). It is rich in didactical material and it is also a source of ideas on how to introduce ‘space’ in the classroom.

Here we flag a few case studies regarding vegetation.  In the future, data from Proba-V may also   join this invaluable legacy of space data for the classroom,  helping our students build and improve their scientific skills in an engaging way in order to better understand the planet we live on.

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