Ever wonder what the shift to a global agricultural system has done to vegetation levels? The European Space Agency plans to find out with Proba-V, a laboratory table-sized microsatellite that can provide an overview of the planet’s vegetation growth on a daily basis.
Proba-V isn’t the first vegetation-monitoring satellite launched by the ESA, but it is the smallest. That’s because engineers have managed to shrink the standard vegetation satellite by a factor of ten–all by combining three separate telescopes and exchanging glass lenses for aluminum mirrors.
The satellite is expected to go into orbit by mid-2012, at which point we’ll find out just how powerful a satellite that fits in a living room can be.