in Central America has, since Friday, May 11, a new ally that monitors from space: it is the Costa Rican satellite
(EEI) with the mission of collecting data related to carbon fixation during the next six months
This was the best performance of the first Costa Rican and Central American satellite sent to space, and also marked the beginning of a new incursion of the region in space missions.
"The added value of this satellite lies in having assigned it a scientific mission; during the next six months, it will compile daily the growth data of melina trees ( Gmelina arborea ), issued by sensors called dendrometers in an experimental plot located in the Northern Zone of the country " , commented to SciDev.Net Julio Calvo, rector of TEC and principal investigator of the project.
While progress was made in the design, assembly and testing of the satellite, a forest biomass measurement system was developed that used satellite technology to improve the collection of this information.
According to Calvo explained, forest biomass can be measured manually with field visits , or by means of anchoring techniques that could damage the trees. However, this dendrometer system allows these digital measurements to be made in a non-invasive form through an ultrasonic sensor; have a millimeter precision of tree growth; obtain this data remotely thanks to its transmission to the satellite, and even count on several measurements per day, to relate daily growth with environmental variables obtained with other sensors, even hundreds of kilometers away.
"By measuring daily how much the tree grows, we can extrapolate how much the mass grows on a hectare and translate it into how much carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) fixes that plantation to the atmosphere, "added Calvo, who is also a forestry engineer.
] In his words, plants are made up of chains of hydrogen and carbon; Through the leaves and during the process of photosynthesis, the plant captures CO 2 as a gas, from which it obtains carbon -which remains fixed in its structure- and releases oxygen to the environment.
Batsú-CS1 was built under the standard CubeSat – a small and low-cost format with form of cube-, which has already been done in various universities around the world for its ease of access to space.
According to its promoters, one of its advantages is that it allows students and teachers to have experiences of impact on development of capabilities in space technologies.
This principle was put into practice by the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT), one of the project partners, where students from developing countries are directly involved in the project. process In this case, after receiving the satellite built in Costa Rica, Costa Rican students in KIT submitted it to endurance tests.