We are nearing a dramatic step change in our ability to sense the world around us. Imaging spectrometers, once the exclusive purview of research laboratories, are now becoming commonplace. As of 2022, NASA spacecraft carrying imaging spectrometers have started providing global datasets across the Earth’s climate and biosphere. These sensors record a full spectrum of incident light for each pixel in an image. While a typical RGB camera has only three colors per image, imaging spectrometers can have hundreds of channels from the ultraviolet through the infrared, providing exponentially higher information content. Such spectra enable us to infer the material composition of objects in the scene, and even sense invisible particles and gases in the atmosphere. This talk provides an introduction to these information firehoses, describing the challenges and opportunities that they offer for data scientists in the coming decade.
David R. Thompson is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, where he serves named roles on multiple NASA missions. His research advances the algorithms and practice of imaging spectroscopy for studying Earth and other planetary bodies. He has received the NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal, the Lew Allen Award for Excellence, and the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal. David’s approaches have been fielded to multiple Earth-orbiting spacecraft and twice to the surface of Mars.
Host: Wael Abd-Almageed, POC: Karen Lake