NASA, Cisco Team on Climate Change

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2009-03-03

WASHINGTON-NASA and Cisco Systems said March 3 they are teaming to develop an online
global monitoring platform to capture, collect, analyze and report data on environmental conditions around the world. The platform-known as "Planetary Skin"-will combine NASA data from a wide range of sources to measure, report and verify environmental data in near real time to help detect and adapt to global climate change.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, NASA will provide continuous global observations of Earth using a constellation of spacecraft, as well as airborne and ground observations, while Cisco will bring its experience and expertise in networking technologies to the platform. Cisco engineers will conduct complex data analysis and modeling and share in-depth knowledge of the next-generation Internet Protocol architectures to determine how to best prototype, replicate and scale a Planetary Skin to millions of participants.

"Mitigating the impacts of climate change is critical to the world's economic and social stability," said Cisco CEO John Chambers. "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, private and not-for-profit sectors will join us in this exciting endeavor."

Planetary Skin will kick off 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 rain forests around the world and explore how to integrate a comprehensive sensor network.

Rainforest Skin also will examine how to capture, analyze and present information about the changes in the amount of carbon in rainforests. According to scientists, the destruction of rainforests causes more carbon to be added to the atmosphere and remain there, contributing significantly to global warming.

"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," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center.

Cisco is also working on the Planetary Skin program with the United Nations, multilateral development banks, businesses, international government agencies, universities, think tanks, non-governmental agencies and foundations.

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