Cisco and NASA grow a Planetary Skin

NASA and Cisco announced on Tuesday that they'll work together on Planetary Skin, an online monitoring platform that will capture, collect, and analyze environmental data gathered by satellites and sensors (airborne, maritime, terrestrial and human) around the globe.

The data will be accessible to governments, businesses and the general public -- anyone looking to measure and verify environmental data. And since no one's interested in dried-up old skin, Planetary Skin will operate in near-real time.


Earth is a big place and Planetary Skin already has other partners supplying expertise, including the United Nations, NGOs, banks, businesses, and various think tanks. What Cisco brings to the table, in addition to networking tech and an understanding of what's ahead for IP architectures, is the ability to conduct complex data analysis and modeling. Intimate understanding of the process of scaling massive projects frankly doesn't hurt either.

The first pilot project will be Rainforest Skin, which will focus on deforestation. The project will help researchers understand how to capture, analyze and present useful data on changes in carbon levels in the rainforests, and should help project managers to integrate the comprehensive sensor networks underneath the Skin.

"Mitigating the impacts of climate change is critical to the world's economic and social stability," said John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, in a prepared statement. "This unique partnership taps the power and innovation of the market and harnesses it for the public good. Cisco is proud to work with NASA on this initiative and hopes others from the public and private sectors will join us in this exciting endeavor."

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