NASA and Cisco Inc. announced Tuesday 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, sea- and land-based sensors across the globe. This data will be made available for 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, private and not-for-profit 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 modelling, and share an 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.
Cisco is also working on the Planetary Skin program with the United Nations, multi-lateral development banks, businesses, international government agencies, universities, think tanks, non-governmental 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.