Planet Labs PBC, a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced new details of its commercial hyperspectral constellation, which is being brought to market through a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership with the Carbon Mapper Coalition. The future hyperspectral satellites will be named Tanager, a colourful and visually diverse family of birds in Central and South America, and are designed to deliver hyperspectral data at a resolution of 30 meters with over 400 spectral bands.
In combination with Planet’s existing medium (3-5 meter resolution, Dove) and high-resolution (<1 meter resolution, SkySat and future Pelican) constellations, the hyperspectral data provided by the Tanager satellites aims to complement and enhance Planet’s unprecedented dataset. Tanager is a family of birds who, similar to our planet, are threatened with endangerment if we don’t take substantive and data-backed action to protect ecosystems and resources. By helping to identify the spectral “signatures” of chemicals, materials, and processes across the globe, hyperspectral data can reveal otherwise hidden trends and could fill intelligence gaps and mitigate risks by exposing these challenges to decision-makers.
Hyperspectral imaging offers a vast array of spectral insights as it divides the spectrum across a multitude of spectral bands, enabling analysts to review phenomena in many differentiated colours that are typically beyond human visual perception. The goal of Planet’s hyperspectral offering is to help customers reveal social, environmental, and climate risks in unprecedented detail and demonstrates Planet’s commitment to preserve biodiversity and to accelerate action on climate change as a part of the Carbon Mapper Coalition. ASU’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science will also play a key role in the Carbon Mapper mission performing additional scientific research on hyperspectral applications.
With plans to launch the first two Tanager satellites in 2023, hyperspectral data holds immense potential to support applications in industries like agriculture, defense & intelligence, energy, civil government, and mining. The genesis of the Carbon Mapper initiative came from a need to use high-quality hyperspectral data to locate methane point source emitters at the facility scale to support mitigation action. As part of the coalition, Planet remains committed to the public benefit mission of pinpointing, quantifying and tracking point-source methane and CO2 emissions, while also leveraging the technology’s other applications made possible with hyperspectral data to deliver additional value to its customers.
Beyond offering methane and CO2 signatures, Planet’s commercial hyperspectral offering looks to provide customers with data for dozens of other environmental applications and indicators that are needed to closely monitor the health of the planet. The satellites’ hyperspectral sensor technology, pioneered by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), will provide 30m resolution and a full spectral range of shortwave infrared and high-precision 5nm wide bands; this hyperspectral offering is designed to help organizations understand changes on land and at sea, from coastal zones to forests to urban areas and more.
As influential leaders meet this week to discuss a range of topics from the impact of infrastructure and buildings on our environment to how global food industries can cut greenhouse gas emissions to the importance of preserving and restoring the Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity - it’s more critical than ever that businesses innovate and governments implement effective policies. These parties need targeted, actionable information as rapidly as possible and hyperspectral data can provide that critical intelligence layer.