Welcome to the STELLA (Science and Technology Education for Land/Life Assessment) project. STELLA instruments are portable low-cost do-it-yourself (DIY) instruments that support science education, and outreach through scientific engagement, inquiry, and discovery while helping you understand Landsat better.

Landsat images are not just colorful and captivating, they are also precise spectral measurements that provide a scientific record of our planet.

But what exactly does that mean? And how does Landsat make these measurements?

Consider building a STELLA to find out for yourself…

STELLA Spectrometers



No soldering and no 3D printing required



No soldering and no 3D printing required


Light Soldering and 3D printing skills required



Light Soldering and 3D printing skills required. Bluetooth functionality.

STELLA Air Quality



(STELLA Air Quality)
No soldering and no 3D printing required

STELLA Heliophysics

Helio-STELLA 3D printed case


No soldering and no 3D printing required *optional 3D printed case shown

Once assembled, the STELLA DIY spectrometers Q, 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 versions can make 12 different spectral measurements the STELLA-Q2 can make 18 different measurements from violet/blue portions of the electromagnetic spectrum out to near infrared regions (beyond our range of vision). The STELLA 1.1 and 2.0 versions can also make surface temperature measurements of emitted thermal infrared energy like Landsat.

With STELLA in hand, students become citizen scientists making Landsat-like spectral measurements wherever they are.

STELLA instruments help students understand remote sensing technology, applications and the importance of sensor calibration, introducing them to the science of Landsat with a learn-by-doing approach.

With STELLA you can see how the spectral signature (or reflectance pattern) of a drought-stressed plant compares to a healthy one; how sediment-laden water differs from clear water; or how the temperature of a lush green field contrasts with an adjacent concrete sidewalk.

The STELLA-AQ, once assembled, combines carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter (PM) monitoring capabilities in a user-friendly device.

Landsat satellite data has been instrumental in estimating air quality, particularly in measuring particulate matter (PM) concentrations like PM10 and PM2.5 across various urban areas globally. Studies spanning locations from Delhi, India, to Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Chinese cities have demonstrated the effectiveness of Landsat 8 and even older Landsat iterations like Landsat 5 in estimating these pollutants. These investigations have involved diverse methodologies, including empirical modeling based on multispectral data, comparisons with ground-based measurements using Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) data, and exploring spectral sensitivity for accurate PM estimation. The findings consistently underscore Landsat’s capability to predict and map PM concentrations, showcasing its versatility in aiding environmental studies, urban planning, and policy-making regarding air quality management and pollution control measures.

STELLA brings the foundational, space-based measurements of Landsat down to Earth.

Find freely available build plans, instructions, and activities on this website.

The STELLA team

photo of Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Team Lead

photo of Paul Mirel

Paul Mirel

Creator and Lead Engineer

Petya Campbell

Petya Campbell

Lead Scientist

photo of Jesse Barber

Jesse Barber


Ross Walter

Ross Walter


Paige Williams

Paige Williams

Scientist, Drone Specialist

photo of Nyssa Rayne

Nyssa Rayne

Collaborator, Terra Outreach Coordinator

* Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.