February 29, 2024

Going Hyperspectral for CHIME – The Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment

The Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission, CHIME, will carry a distinct noticeable to shortwave infrared spectrometer to provide regular hyperspectral observations to support brand-new and boosted services for sustainable farming and biodiversity management, as well as soil home characterization. The objective will match Copernicus Sentinel-2 for applications such as land-cover mapping. Credit Thales Alenia Space
Carrying a novel imaging spectrometer, the CHIME mission will supply systematic hyperspectral images to map modifications in land cover and help sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, CHIME will be used to support forest management and assessments on biodiversity, community sustainability and ecological destruction, and to monitor lake and coastal environments consisting of water quality.

The Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission, CHIME, will carry a special noticeable to shortwave infrared spectrometer to offer regular hyperspectral observations to support brand-new and enhanced services for sustainable agricultural and biodiversity management, along with soil property characterization. The mission will complement Copernicus Sentinel-2 for applications such as land-cover mapping. Credit Thales Alenia Space
Carrying an unique imaging spectrometer, the CHIME objective will offer methodical hyperspectral images to map modifications in land cover and help sustainable farming practices. It will also be used to find different soil homes for action on improving soil health. In addition, CHIME will be utilized to support forest management and evaluations on biodiversity, environment sustainability and environmental destruction, and to monitor lake and seaside communities consisting of water quality.
To best prepare CHIME for its tasks in ahead, and as part of a cooperation between ESA and NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), scientists joined forces recently for the Hypersense experiment campaign, which was supposed to happen in 2020 however Covid restrictions implied it had actually to be delayed.
The project, which is being managed by the University of Zurich, firstly involved bringing an airplane and JPLs measuring instrument from the USA to the Dübendorf airbase near Zurich in Switzerland. The Next Generation Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, AVIRIS, instrument resembles the abilities that CHIME will have as soon as in orbit.
Measurements taken with AVIRIS over more than 20 test websites that represent various kinds of communities are assisting engineers and researchers get ready for and ensure that CHIME will have the ability to take up task delivering premium diagnostic and quantitative data as soon it remains in orbit and operational.
Agricultural fields in Irlbach, Germany, from AVIRIS. Credit: JPL
The majority of these flights accompanied measurements taken on the ground to more aid examine the data collected by the airborne instrument.
As part of this airborne and field campaign, a cooperation was likewise set up with the Italian Space Agency, ASI, to observe the test sites from area with their satellite imaging spectrometer called PRISMA. In addition, the German Aerospace Center, DLR, provided hyperspectral images from its DESIS sensor, an imaging spectrometer that looks down on Earth from the International Space Station.
The resulting datasets will include coexisting ground, spaceborne and airborne observations for an enhanced diagnostic and quantitative analysis of these imaging spectrometer finger print information, which result from observing the target by means of adjoining spectral bands in between the blue and the shortwave infrared (400– 2500 nm).
Michael Rast, ESAs mission scientist for CHIME, said, “The datasets will help us establish and examine future CHIME data items including particular farming vegetation elements such as chlorophyll and nitrogen and measure carbon content in soils, hence supporting the enhancement of agricultural practices and management.”
The cooperation with NASA, under which this campaign is being brought out, also includes balanced preparation in between CHIME and NASAs Surface Biology Geology mission, which has comparable spectrometer observation characteristics as CHIME. Both objectives are slated for launch in the 2nd half of this years.
CHIME project pre-flight rundown. Credit: University of Zurich
Robert O. Green, AVIRIS-NG Principal Investigator, said, “This was a challenging campaign from a Covid and weather condition viewpoint, yet the team persevered and gathered an extraordinary group of imaging spectroscopy information sets to support both the CHIME and NASAs Surface Biology Geology future objectives for the benefit of our planet.”
“With food security an international concern, its essential that area firms collaborate so that we can tap into our relative know-how and assets for the best outcomes. In this case, we have ESA, NASA, ASI and DLR all working together along with high-ranking researchers from across Europe, the USA, Israel, and Australia– which is absolutely fantastic,” added Dr. Rast.

The Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment, or CHIME for short, is among six brand-new missions that the EU and ESA are developing to expand the existing suite of Copernicus Sentinels. Information from the Sentinels feed into a variety of Copernicus services that address challenges such as urbanization, food security, rising water level, decreasing polar ice, natural disasters, and climate change.
The six Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions will contribute to today abilities of the Sentinels to more address EU policy priorities and spaces in Copernicus user requires.

Hyperspectral image cube revealing Mount Vesuvius, Italy. Credit: JPL
With Covid restrictions a bit more relaxed, researchers from Europe and the USA were lastly able to collaborate for a long-awaited field experiment to make sure that a brand-new Copernicus satellite called CHIME will deliver the best possible information products as soon as it is operational in orbit. This new objective is being developed to support EU policies on the management of natural resources, eventually helping to address the worldwide problem of food security.