Wireless Applications

NASA and Cisco Partner on Climate Change Monitoring

March 4, 2009

The joint effort will develop a platform that captures and analyzes data from satellite, airborne, and sea- and land-based sensors across the globe to measure, report, and verify environmental data in near-real-time to detect and adapt to global climate change.


WASHINGTON - NASA and Cisco Inc. announced a partnership to develop an online collaborative global monitoring platform called the Planetary Skin to capture, collect, analyze, and report data on environmental conditions around the world.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, NASA and Cisco will work together to develop the Planetary Skin as an online collaborative platform to capture and analyze data from satellite, airborne, and sea- and land-based sensors across the globe. The data will be made available to the general public, governments, and businesses to measure, report, and verify environmental data in near-real-time to help detect and adapt to global climate change.

"In the past 50 years, NASA's expertise has been applied to solving humanity's challenges, including playing a part in discovering global climate change," said S. Pete Worden, Director of NASA's Ames Research Center. "The NASA-Cisco partnership brings together two world-class organizations that are well equipped with the technologies and skills to develop and prototype the Planetary Skin infrastructure."

Cisco and NASA will kick off Planetary Skin with a series of pilot projects, including Rainforest Skin, which will be prototyped during the next year. Rainforest Skin will focus on the deforestation of rainforests around the world and explore how to integrate a comprehensive sensor network. It also will examine how to capture, analyze, and present information about the changes in the amount of carbon in rainforests in a transparent and useable way. According to scientists, the destruction of rainforests causes more carbon to be added to the atmosphere and remain there. That contributes significantly to global warming.

"Mitigating the impacts of climate change is critical to the world's economic and social stability," said John Chambers, Cisco Chief Executive Officer. "This unique partnership taps the power and innovation of the market and harnesses it for the public good. Cisco is proud to work with NASA on this initiative and hopes others from the public and private sectors will join us in this exciting endeavor."

NASA provides continuous global observations of our home planet, using a constellation of spacecraft, as well as airborne and in situ ground observations, to monitor the health and well-being of Earth. NASA's investment in Earth observations and climate change research is greater than that of all other nations combined.

Cisco will bring its experience and expertise in networking technologies and advanced innovation to the project. Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group has a unique combination of business acumen, scientific, economics, and policy understanding. Its experts will conduct complex data analysis and modeling and share an in-depth knowledge of the next generation of Internet protocol architectures to determine how to best prototype, replicate, and scale a Planetary Skin to millions of participants.

Cisco is also working on the Planetary Skin program with the United Nations, multi-lateral development banks, businesses, international government agencies, universities, think tanks, nongovernmental agencies, and foundations. Planetary Skin participants will pool their unique skills, assets, and technologies to develop the decision-support capabilities to effectively manage natural resources, such as biomass, water, land, and energy; climate change-related risks, such as a rise in sea level, droughts, and disease proliferation; and new environmental markets for carbon, water, and biodiversity.


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