France: After several decades of research and development into hyperspectral imaging (HI), which greatly enhances the ability to characterise the state of Earth, the technique has been embraced by the Earth-observation community and has entered the mainstream remote sensing, according to European Space Agency (ESA).
HI is also known as imaging spectroscopy. Three HI-based missions have been planned for next five years. Italy’s ASI space agency plans to launch Prisma, a medium-resolution hyperspectral imaging mission, in 2012. Prisma’s hyperspectral camera will be able to acquire images in about 235 channels in the visible and near-infrared and short-wave infrared.
Giancarlo Varacalli, ASI’s Prisma System Manager, said, “Prisma is an Earth-observation system with innovative electro-optical instrumentation that combines a hyperspectral sensor with a panchromatic, medium-resolution camera. The advantages of this combination are that, in addition to the capabilities offered by hyperspectral sensors, which can determine the chemical-physical composition of the target, the panchromatic adds a higher spatial resolution and the recognition of the geometrical characteristics of the scene.”
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) are planning to launch the EnMAP hyperspectral satellite in 2014 to map Earth’s surface in over 200 narrow colour channels at the same time.
Professor Herrmann Kaufmann of GFZ, EnMAP Project Scientist, said, “The primary goal of EnMAP is to offer accurate, diagnostic information on the state and evolution of terrestrial ecosystems on a timely and frequent basis, and to allow for a detailed analysis of surface parameters with regard to the characterisation of vegetation canopies, rock/soil targets and coastal waters on a global scale.”
In 2015, NASA plans to launch the HyspIRI mission, which will acquire images with 210 spectral bands. It will study the processes that indicate volcanic eruption; analyse the nutrients and water status of vegetation; study deforestation; provide early warning of droughts; among others.