November 7th, 2020
Despite a proliferation in spaceborne assets, large knowledge gaps remain due to our inability to adequately monitor critical dynamic processes at relevant spatiotemporal scales and at sufficient quality. The large area/long term persistent monitoring capability of a HAP (High Altitude Platform) coupled with state-of-the-art remote-sensing has the potential to transcend that gap enabling new science and understanding.
One such example is addressing our ocean’s health by monitoring of pathways and processes of marine debris and pollutants. Recognised by the UN as a global societal, environmental and economic crisis, they have created Sustainable Development Goal Target 14.1 to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution by 2025. However presently the fate of at least 90% of plastic added to the ocean from land sources is unknown (reference).
Terrestrial EO-HAPS applications could include inland waterways monitoring, coastal mapping and coastline integrity and estuarial ecosystem dynamics.
Delwyn Moller, Ph.D.