SmartSat CRC aims for agricultural satellite observation capability


The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has launched a new research programme called ‘Maya Nula’ to develop an Australian satellite Earth Observation (EO) capability with space sensor technology for the agriculture sector.

The name Maya Nula, which translates to ‘eyes here, there, everywhere’ in the Dharug language of the Eora nation, aims to create an agricultural intelligence capability from space.

The SmartSat-led initiative will facilitate research projects to address the growing need for farmers to reduce risk and boost agricultural productivity through environmentally friendly processes.

SmartSat will develop a series of projects to deliver a measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) tool for communicating sustainable farming practices on soil health, crop conditions, biosecurity, and the environment. The projects will be co-funded by research organisations, government, and industry.

SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios said: “Through enhanced agricultural intelligence using terrestrial and space technologies, Maya Nula will enable our farmers to deliver higher yields of healthy food, meeting our needs and increasing exports of our agricultural products.

“By integrating climate resilience and supply provenance practices into farming, Maya Nula can help Australian farmers adapt to changing weather conditions, minimise crop failures, ensure a stable food supply, higher efficiency and maintenance of profits and maintain market access.”

Maya Nula Research Program Lead and SmartSat Principal Scientist in Earth Observation Dr Jasmine Muir said that the programme will be a necessary and meaningful investment to ensure the security and prosperity of Australian farming’s future under changing climate scenarios.

Dr Muir said: “As we look to safeguard and enhance Australia’s agriculture sector for the coming years, sovereign space-based monitoring capability is critical.

“It is essential we start to plant the seeds of technology development now to ensure Australian agriculture is at the cutting edge in the decades ahead.”

The Maya Nula Research Program will be introduced at a ceremony in Canberra attended by Dharug elders who were consulted about the mission, including its name and the desired outcomes of any emerging technologies.

Picture: SmartSat CRC

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