Space Station Gets Unprecedented Views of Earth Coasts

View of the Hyperspectral Imager for Coastal Oceans (HICO) and Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) Experiment Payload (HREP) installed on the Japanese Experiment Module of the International Space Station. Image source: NASA.


Advanced technology aboard the International Space Station is now providing unprecedented views of the planet’s coastlines.

Knowing what activity is occurring along Earth’s coasts is key for planning and carrying out humanitarian relief and military actions, as well as monitoring for pollution, coral reef health and other environmental concerns. However, the millions of square miles that make up the coasts of oceans are complicated in nature, consisting of dissolved matter and suspended detritus that obscure water and sea bottom types that can vary quickly over just dozens of yards.

Now the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO), installed on the International Space Station in 2009, is providing unprecedented new views of coastlines around the world…

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