ESA: Mapping global vegetation with a miniature satellite

African equatorial forest
Credits: ESA

ESA’s Proba-V, despite being only a little larger than a washing machine, will provide in the near future provide sharp views of Earth’s plant life every two days. Keeping a close check on the health of vegetation is not only essential for monitoring environmental change, but also for numerous practical applications – importantly, those related to agriculture, food security or disaster risk management.

So far, the French Spot satellites have been providing data on vegetation. However, since the sensor on Spot-4 stopped supplying data last year and Spot-5 is expected to come to an end in the middle of 2014, the upcoming Proba-V mission has been designed to continue the supply of this much-needed imagery.

Furthermore, after the loss of Envisat and its MERIS camera, Proba-V will help to bridge the gap until the launch of the Sentinel-3 mission, which carries the Ocean Land Colour Instrument to follow on the 10-year time series of MERIS data.