Satellite based reseach: What is in it for the NRENs?

When Chris Atherton first asked me to join the session on Satellite Based research and Geo-science at the EaPEC19, my initial response was that I have nothing to do with Space. Earth Observation technologies were as distant and removed from my worldview as the satellites and the space themselves.

However, I was curious, and my mind was triggered to find out and understand if there is any value in it for me.

My research into the subject was earth shattering, continuing with the space jargon here. As it turns out, our lives, my life is very much space-enabled. I am now using the language of Danielle Wood, who is a professor of MIT and who has founded there a Space Enabled Research Group. Here is what I have learned:

  • Space helps me communicate. The communication satellites that are orbiting the Earth enable us talk to each other.
  • Space helps me locate myself. The positioning satellites that are orbiting the Earth enable me to find and geo-position myself in the world.
  • Space makes me smarter. The findings from the research that takes place in space (the microgravity research) can be extrapolated and used here on Earth to advance medicine, science and many other disciplines.  
  • Space makes sure that I am not hungry.  The data that is made available through Earth observation technology helps us track crops, vegetation, water supplier and much more.
  • Space makes me safer. The space can warm me against the areas of danger or stress in the world that could guide me in my movements.

It was such a powerful and amazing discovery that the space, so alien and far help me be human and live my human live here on Earth. In a way, space reinforces my humanity, and that goes for every person on this planet.  

Coming with this discovery into the session, I have expanded my knowledge on the subject even further. During the discussion, we have uncovered new, exciting opportunities for enabling researchers to access and compute geo-data. The solution is called the data cube and it allows dynamic and large scale data processing, and there is already one regional example in Armenia. Building on this, NRENs have a fantastic opportunity to connect researchers and decision maker through the connectivity and data services, and as a result to strengthen their role and value for the local and regional economy. This value proposition will be captured by a position paper that will be put together by GÉANT in coming month. Watch that space and get in touch with the Research Engagement group if you are interested (