NASA has announced an end to its planned space flight missions, and many of its current satellites monitoring Earth’s weather, ocean, and national security are nearing retirement. This means that Europe, China, Japan, and India are vying to become the leading developer of remote sensing technologies over the next few years.
Part of Europe’s strength lies in two recently launched European satellites, Herschel and Planck, which already have begun providing a tremendous flow of data to the scientific community.
The PRISMA (Hyperspectral Precursor of the Application Mission) program, which Italy is scheduled to launch later this year, and the German EnMAP (Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program), scheduled to launch in 2014, will provide information on environmental monitoring, resource management, biospheric and geospheric processes, pollution control, and possibly national security.
The recent eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland was a firm reminder to Europe of the importance of remote sensing technologies to the economy and the environment. Ground-based lidar systems and other optical remote-sensing instruments provided space and time data on the evolution of the ash clouds, their movement, and their optical properties.
A special session on the Eyjafjallajökull eruption will be held at SPIE Remote Sensing in Toulouse, France, in September. This session will specifically look at lidar measurements of the volcano’s aerosols and highlight the contributions of lidar techniques used in understanding the event and its impact. The extensive observations made by lidar instruments throughout Europe will be of crucial importance in assessing the impact of the ash and can be used for validation and assimilation into ash-dispersion models.
European stations in the Global Atmosphere Watch Aerosol Lidar Observation Network tracked the position and characteristics of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano when it erupted this spring. Information about the eruption was taken from the Paliseau (France) lidar station on 17 April. Courtesy of the U.S. Air Quality Smog Blog
SPIE Remote Sensing is the premier European meeting focused on the latest developments in remote sensing including lidar, next-generation satellites, SAR image analysis, and hyperspectral imaging. SPIE member Steven P. Neeck, program executive at the NASA Office of Earth Science (USA) will act as this year’s symposium chair, with Karin Stein of Fraunhofer-Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) (Germany) as co-chair.
The 20-23 September event is collocated with SPIE Security+Defence, allowing for collaboration on topics of mutual interest to an interdisciplinary audience looking to forge valuable strategic partnerships.
SPIE Security+Defence attracts more than 400 attendees working in the security and defence sector, with a long tradition of collaborative research. Leaders from both European and North American defence industries gather to share optics and photonics technology developments. The chair for the 2010 symposium is SPIE Fellow David H. Titterton of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (UK). Co-chairs are SPIE members Reinhard R. Ebert of Fraunhofer IOSB, and Bernard J. Rosier of ONERA (France).
Among the many presentations are three invited papers in the Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems: Technology and Applications conference covering advances in thermal imaging detector technology, from amorphous silicon detectors to LWIR MCT FPA detectors to high-sensitivity carbon-nanotubes-based MWIR detectors.
Several joint sessions planned
The spirit of collaboration is alive and well at these two events. The SPIE Remote Sensing conference on Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites will organize a joint Airborne Remote Sensing session with the conference Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, and Large Water Regions.
A joint session is also scheduled between the conferences Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere and Lidar Technologies, Techniques, and Measurements for Atmospheric Remote Sensing.
In the Security+ Defence event, the conference Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting includes a plenary talk that will compare and contrast crime, defence, and security issues. A roundtable discussion is also scheduled, open to everyone to come and debate real solutions to difficult challenges.
International teamwork is also reflected in the plenary speakers. Pascale Ultré-Guérard, head of the Earth Observation Programme, CNES (France), and Vern Singhroy, senior research scientist for Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, are the plenary speakers for the SPIE Remote Sensing event.
The plenaries at SPIE Security+Defence showcase the breadth of research by European scientists. Emmanuel Rosencher, professor of physics at Ecole Polytechnique and ONERA (France), will be discussing Optronics for Security, Defence and Space Applications while Jean-Thierry, director of European projects at Audren, Sagem Defense and Security (France), will provide an overview on European Photonics Research for Security.
Defence and security exhibition
The Security+Defence event also holds an exhibition 21–22 September at the Centre de Congré s Pierre Baudis, showcasing the latest in detection, imaging, and lasers, with a whole host of supporting components and devices on display.
Global Ocean Watch
The SPIE Remote Sensing event will host a special session on the joint NASA-CNES proposed Surface Water & Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.
An international effort, the SWOT mission will use wide-swath altimetry technology to fully cover the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies with repeated elevation measurements.
This effort will improve our understanding of the oceanic circulation at mesoscales and smaller, where most of the ocean’s kinetic energy and its dissipation take place.