NASA’s Earth-observing satellites can track the forces that create malaria outbreaks, and their data will soon help local communities make big strides toward warding off the deadly disease.
The Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS) project allows satellites from far above the Amazon rainforest in South America to track environmental factors (such as rainfall) and human activities (such as logging) that may attract the Anopheles darlingi mosquito, the host of malaria in the region.
NASA’s Applied Sciences Program is funding the investigation into using the LDAS to predict malaria outbreaks. William Pan of the Duke Global Health Institute, who is leading the project, said it could be ready to be implemented within a few years, and its analytical models can also be extended to help prevent the spread of Zika, dengue or other diseases. [Why Use Satellites To Measure Rain? (Video)]
By pinpointing areas with warm air temperatures that are likely to have calm ponds or puddles of water, the satellites provide…