Plants from Space with Martha Anderson

April 22, 2020 • Everything from pens to people gives off heat. How much heat plants give off can tell us a lot about how healthy or stressed they are, which in turn helps us grow better, healthier crops. USDA researcher Martha Anderson uses satellites and instruments like Landsat and ECOSTRESS to see how stressed plants are from space, which in turn, can help warn about things like flash droughts.

We’re observing Earth Day from home this year. Whether we’re curled up on the couch or in the microgravity on the International Space Station, there’s a way to appreciate our little rock in space.



“Because Landsat’s been operating for so long—thermal imaging has been enabled since the 1980s—we can study how patterns in water use have changed over the landscape over long periods of time as the climate has changed and as land use patterns have changed. So Landsat has been really a critical sensor for our work.” —Dr. Martha Anderson