Think of ESAs Proba as the little satellite that does a lot. It is only the size of a washing machine but its main instrument - the smallest hyperspectral imager ever flown in space – has an expanding portfolio of uses encompassing agricultural mapping, water quality monitoring, charting forest fire damage and disaster management.
CHRIS image of Italys Stromboli volcano. It was acquired by the Proba instrument on 3 December 2003. Stromboli is one of the Aeolian Islands, and stands about 900 metres above the level of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
San Francisco seen from PROBA-1’s CHRIS instrument.
Launched in October 2001, the Project for Onboard Autonomy (Proba) satellite measures just 60 x 60 x 80 cm. Its main instrument takes up around a third of this pint-sized orbiter and is known as the Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (CHRIS).
Operating from a distance of 600 km away, CHRIS acquires 14-km square images of the Earths surface to a resolution of 18 metres, in a combination of up to 19 out of a total of 62 spectral bands to provide added environmental information. And the same scene can be viewed from a variety of different angles because Proba is manoeuvrable enough to perform controlled rolls.
That remarkable combination of abilities has aroused the interests of researchers worldwide. Last week around 40 of them met up at ESAs European Space Research Institute (ESRIN) centre at Frascati, Italy. They discussed their current and future uses of the instrument at the three-day Second CHRIS/Proba Workshop from 28 April.
Frédéric Le Gall | ESA
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