Opening the Aperture to Innovation: Expanding Our Collective Understanding of a Changing Planet 

Submissions should fall within the scope of the following Pecora 22 theme descriptions:
Observing the earth for the benefit of all: This theme is inspired by the title borrowed from Department of the Interior Secretary Stewart Udall’s 1966 announcement of Project EROS and explores the role of Earth observations (EO) in understanding and managing the changing Earth with a focus on science and applications in agriculture, forestry, land cover, urban and regional studies, water resources, geology, hazards, public health, etc.  This includes applications-oriented topics that influence decision making processes at international, federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels.

A half-century of discovery:
The scientific discoveries and technical innovations enabled by Pecora’s vision.  William Pecora argued that “if our ability to find and efficiently utilize resources does not accelerate…., the industrial civilization that we enjoy will crumble within a few decades.” This theme explores the major breakthroughs and trends evolving from the beginning of the civil remote sensing era to today’s collaborative world of multi-mission synergy.  Consider the analogy that Landsat is the original civilian EO tree, which has given rise to a forest of other “trees” that include the European Copernicus Program, especially Sentinel-2, and other international EO programs, and a growing number of commercial missions.  This theme specifically focuses on what we know now that we did not know before 1972, and what new discoveries are awaiting. 

Exploring the state of the art:
This theme focuses on the technical evolution of the EO trees and branches due to current and emerging breakthroughs in EO science and technology, such as cloud computing tools for efficient management and processing of geospatial data (e.g., Google Earth Engine, Amazon Web Service); novel artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms; data synergy and intercalibration between satellite constellations (e.g., Landsat-Sentinel Harmonization products); Analysis Ready Data from state-of-the-art sensors (multispectral, spectrometer, radar, lidar); scaling from field to airborne and satellite observations; near real-time, large-area EO-derived data products (e.g., Global Forest Watch); and novel web-based tools and user-friendly interfaces that are facilitating the efficiency and effectiveness of researcher-stakeholder engagement.

The next 50 years:
This theme addresses the future and considers the next steps in widening the aperture to innovation and expanding the benefits of EO through investigations of critical societal issues, including climate change, population growth, and public health challenges.  Scientific, technical and policy topics will be explored that enables growing strong branches on the EO tree that fosters collaboration and ultimately enables expanding the impact of US, international, and commercial EO programs. Of special interest are NASA Earth System Observatory concepts that serve as pathfinders for the future.