prototype hyspiri thermal infared radiometer
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The HyspIRI mission is science driven. In other words, the measurement requirements for the mission can be traced back to to the need to answer a particular science question or group of science questions. HyspIRI has three top-level science questions related to 1) Ecosystem function and composition, 2) Volcanoes and natural hazards, and 3) Surface composition and the sustainable management of natural resources. The NRC Decadal Survey called out these three areas. The top-level science questions for the HyspIRI mission are:

Ecosystem function and composition

What is the global distribution and status of terrestrial and coastal–aquatic ecosystems and how are they changing?

Volcanoes and natural hazards

How do volcanoes, fires, and other natural hazards behave; and do they provide precursor signals that can be used to predict future activity?

Surface composition and sustainable management of natural resources

What is the composition of the land surface and coastal shallow water regions, and how can they be managed to support natural and human-induced change?

These questions provide a scientific framework for the HyspIRI mission. These overarching questions were used to develop a more detailed set of overarching thematic questions that were separated into three groups. The first two groups deal with overarching questions that may be addressed by only one of the two instruments. The third group requires data from both instruments. All three groups may require supporting measurements from other instruments, whether spaceborne, airborne, or ground. The three question groups are referred to as the 1) VSWIR questions (VQ), 2) TIR questions (TQ) and 3) Combined questions (CQ), respectively. Within each of these overarching thematic questions, there are a set of thematic subquestions, and it is these subquestions that provide the necessary detail to understand the measurement requirements. These questions are described in detail on the HyspIRI website and in the associated documents (see documents tab)