Two JPL SURP grants received

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We are very proud that we were recently awarded two separate 1-year awards from the Jet Propulsion Lab’s Strategic University Research Partnership program!

These grants provide up to $100,000 for cutting edge Earth science conducted by JPL scientists and their chosen collaborators at one of JPL’s 12 partnering universities.  It is unusual for one lab group to get two grants, so we feel very fortunate, and are excited to begin the research.

Both ideas arose from a trip to JPL in January by Kelly, Lyndon, and Adam in February. The first grant, is a collaboration with JPL’s division of computer vision for autonomous navigation.  JPL engineers Roland Brockers and Larry Matthies together with Adam and Kelly propose in this grant for a “rapid forest triage system”, making use of sophisticated algorithms for navigating autonomous aerial vehicles within cluttered environments.  The proposed work would extend this research into oak woodlands around JPL’s campus, and use the collected data to retrieve forest stand population size and density, as well as relate an onboard microclimate sensing package to the forest structure. A master’s student and an undergrad will get to spend the summer in Pasadena working on the project.

The second grant is led by Drs. Darren Drewry and Christian Frankenberg of JPL and Lyndon and Kelly, and will seek to develop new and improved methods for remote estimation of crop water and nutrient stress, biochemical function, and yields by simultaneously measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, thermal infrared, and optical reflectance over maize canopies growing under experimental conditions in Davis, California. The environmental sensor pods being developed by Adam and Kelly will provide sub-daily micro-meteorological and canopy data via cell phone networks. A Princeton undergraduate will take part in the field work for 10 weeks.