NASA has selected the Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR), which is a space-based instrument under the agency’s Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) portfolio that will observe the coaster regions of the Earth. According to the space agency, the GLIMR instrument will help in protecting the sustainability of the ecosystem and also improve the management of resources and boost economic activity.
The GLIMR instrument will be providing observations about ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico. It will also be covering the portions of southeastern US coastline and the Amazon River plume. The project will be led by principal investigator Joseph Salisbury at the University of New Hampshire. The GLIMR instrument was selected out of eight proposals considered by NASA under its EVI solicitation released in 2018 that also carried an award of $107.9 million.
According to NASA, the coastal ecosystems support humans in various ways however these are under heavy pressure due to land use activities, growth in population, extreme weather conditions, and climate change problems. Because of these factors, there can be more expansive and harmful algal blooms, in addition to areas where there is a lack of dissolved oxygen. These algal blooms can be detrimental to human health, fisheries and tourism.
The GLIMR instrument will be placed on a NASA-selected platform and will be launched between 2026 and 2027 into a geosynchronous orbit, where it will be able to track a wide area, centered on the Gulf of Mexico, for up to 15 hours each day. From this higher place, the hyperspectral ocean color radiometer will be measuring the reflectance of sunlight from coast’s waters in thin wavebands.
GLIMR’s view will be able to help in the study the lifecycle of coastal phytoplankton blooms and oil spills in a way that would not be possible with low-Earth orbit satellites.
Given its unique spatial and temporal resolution, GLIMR will be highly complementary to other low-Earth orbit satellites that observe the ocean.
EVI investigations are small science investigations that align with NASA’s larger Earth-observing satellite missions. They can help researchers and scientists assess solutions for areas that are critical to our environment.
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