The two agencies will work to benefit life on Earth
By Diego Flammini
Federal departments that look after space and the ground, respectively, will work together to benefit life on this planet.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen the partnership between the two agencies.
NASA and USDA will explore gaps in ag research that would be addressed through Earth observation systems and technologies developed over the next 10 years.
The details in the MOU will also support NASA’s Artemis program, which plans to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.
“When we combine research on the International Space Station with the amazing capabilities that Earth observation provides, I believe that NASA, in partnership with USDA, could transform farming and bolster agricultural production in ways we can’t even imagine today,” Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, said in a statement.
The USDA and NASA have worked together in the past, pooling resources to help foster innovation in the ag sector and abroad.
In 2015, for example, the two agencies agreed to use space sensors to gather soil moisture data to help improve weather forecasting and warn farmers of potential droughts.
This recent MOU between NASA and the USDA will continue to bring new solutions and possibilities to the ag sector.
“As we’ve seen over the past 100 years, increasing innovation in agriculture is limitless,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a Dec. 16 statement. “This partnership between USDA and NASA will bring together the best research, science and technology we have to offer to help produce more food to feed the growing world.”
Farms.com has contacted members of the U.S. ag community for comment on the prospects of NASA and USDA working together to benefit ag.