Would you have ever guessed that NASA, America’s space program, would be able to help firefighters here on Earth? Well, that is exactly what happened early this summer when the Bootleg Fire in South Oregon was raging across the Pacific Northwest. NASA was able to provide pictures taken from outer space using its extensive network of satellites. These pictures weren’t just any pictures. They were pictures of the earth’s surface temperatures that revealed detailed thermal maps that helped firefighters contain about 53 percent of the deadly forest fire.
NASA was using a tool called “ECOSTRESS,” which stands for “ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station.” ECOSTRESS is uniquely prepared to handle the threat of forest fires. Most satellites aren’t able to produce images that are detailed enough to track the movements of a fire. Additionally, if other satellites were used to produce such images, they wouldn’t be able to provide them nearly as frequently as ECOSTRESS. Speed is important for tracking a quickly moving forest fire. A great example of ECOSTRESS’s ability to continuously offer current information was its ability to track the fire’s proximity to critical infrastructure and its ability to tell firefighters where the hottest parts of the fire were.
Ryan Lim For The Junior Times
1. How did NASA help American firefighters?
2. What did NASA use to provide the pictures?
3. Why is ECOSTRESS uniquely prepared to handle the threat of forest fires?
1. What do you think about NASA helping firefighters on Earth?
2. What are some other earthly problems that NASA may be able to help with?
3. What do you think could be done to help reduce forest fires?
4. What are some other technologies that may be useful in combatting forest fires?