SERVIR program uses satellite data to address critical challenges on Earth


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — When NASA was founded in 1958, one of its initial goals was to study the Earth from space and use the information they found to better societies all over the world.

Dan Irwin founded a program that does just that. SERVIR was founded 15 years ago at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. It’s a program that uses a giant network of satellites in space to study our world.

“It’s looking at our planet and it’s monitoring the atmosphere and the land and the oceans,” Irwin explained.

The information SERVIR collects is used to address critical challenges in developing countries, like floods, fires, and right now, for example, a locust infestation in Africa.

“We can use this information to help the countries predict where the locusts are going to be so they can take action ahead of time,” Irwin said.

Today, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Irwin is still just as passionate about using this technology to better our planet and serve the people in it. He hopes with SERVIR’s help, we’ll still be celebrating Earth Day in another 50 years and will be just as proud as our planet as we are today.

Even as COVID-19 spreads across the planet, the program is predicting outcomes, and ultimately, ways to help.

“Looking at what are the potential impacts when you take not only one problem, but multiple problems, and how they can work to actually prevent that and ultimately save lives and livelihoods,” Irwin said.

The goal is to continue to strengthen countries around the world by using NASA and satellite data to help the world and the people in it for years to come.

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