Narrator: This is Science Today. The University of California , Santa Barbara and a private satellite company called Terra Image USA have formed a partnership that will open up new frontiers of research. David Siegel, a geography professor and director of the university's Institute for Computational Earth System Science, explains that because of prohibitive costs, researchers and students were not able to utilize very high-resolution satellite images.
Siegel: A single scene, which is a snapshot taken from space on a sixty kilometer by sixty kilometer basis can cost anywhere from a couple thousand to eight thousand dollars. And if you want to do science at the cutting edge, you need to have enough of those that you can resolve temporal change. You want to see how cities grow, you want to see how forests go through their seasonal cycles. Change is a fundamental part of this, so for a variety of reasons, it was priced out of the scales that academic researchers can use it.
Narrator: Having virtually unlimited access to this sophisticated technology will also benefit students. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.