ECOSTRESS: NASA’s next generation mission to measure evapotranspiration from the International Space Station

Online seminar followed by Q&A – all welcome. (NB – all times given in UK time)

In 2009, Dr Josh Fisher left the University of Oxford to take up a position at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Three years later, he wrote a mission proposal to NASA to focus on plant water use and stress from the International Space Station (ISS). The mission, ECOSTRESS, was selected in 2014 and launched on a SpaceX rocket to the ISS in 2018. ECOSTRESS now produces a wealth of data and information on plant temperature, evapotranspiration, water use efficiency, and drought stress. Notably, ECOSTRESS samples throughout the diurnal cycle at high spatial resolution (70 m), enabling three primary science questions to be addressed: 1) How is the terrestrial biosphere responding to changes in water availability? 2) How do changes in diurnal vegetation water stress impact the global carbon cycle? 3) Can agricultural vulnerability be reduced through advanced monitoring of agricultural consumptive use and improved drought detection? 

Dr Josh Fisher is a Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and the Science Lead of the ECOSTRESS mission. Originally from California and Alaska, he did his undergraduate and graduate work at UC Berkeley, then postdoctoral work at the University of Oxford with Prof Yadvinder Malhi. Dr Fisher taught remote sensing and GIS at Oxford before returning to the US. His research focuses on terrestrial ecosystems, remote sensing, modeling, and biogeochemical cycling spanning Arctic to tropical volcanic systems. Dr Fisher employs a diverse team of scientists, engineers, artists, and designers, emphasizing demographic diversity. He has published >160 papers, and is one of the most highly cited scientists in his field. When not science-ing, Dr Fisher plays with his kids, plays piano, performs acrobatic yoga, snowboards, and dances.