What is FLEX?
The Earth Explorer - Fluorescence Explorer (FLEX) mission will map vegetation fluorescence to quantify photosynthetic activity.
The conversion of atmospheric carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy-rich carbohydrates through photosynthesis is one of the most fundamental processes on Earth – and one on which we all depend.
Information from FLEX will improve our understanding of the way carbon moves between plants and the atmosphere and how photosynthesis affects the carbon and water cycles.
In addition, information from FLEX will lead to better insight into plant health and stress. This is of particular relevance since the growing global population is placing increasing demands on the production of food and animal feed.
At the moment, photosynthetic activity cannot be measured from space, but FLEX's novel sensor will observe this faint glow.
The FLEX satellite will orbit in tandem with one of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites, taking advantage of its optical and thermal sensors to provide an integrated package of measurements.
26 January 2017
ESA's Fluorescence Explorer (FLEX) mission will orbit in tandem with one of the Copernicus constellation satellites. Taking advantage of Sentinel-3's optical and thermal sensors will lead to an integrated package of measurements to assess plant health. With the Sentinel-2 satellites also in orbit, there is a unique opportunity of using this data synergistically from all three missions for vegetation studies.
The FLEX satellite configuration designs are based on careful consideration of:
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