NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture Program, NASA Harvest, and soil analytics company CropX announced a partnership today that will provide insights into soil conditions around the planet to support more sustainable agriculture with higher yields.
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the CropX platform combines hardware sensors that are screwed into the ground with a cloud-based analytics platform. The combined hardware and software analyzes soil moisture, temperature and salinity to help farmers better manage watering and fertilizer application.
The partnership with NASA Harvest will combine CropX’s earthbound technology with NASA’s network of Earth-observing satellites. By marrying underground data with aerial imagery and information, NASA Harvest plans to provide new insights around soil health to governments and farmers around the world.
According to a press release emailed to The Spoon, NASA has already deployed CropX technology across a group of alfalfa farms in Arizona. Over a year-long pilot program that integrates NASA satellite data and synthetic aperture radar, NASA Harvest will be able to establish parameters for water usage estimates, yield prediction, soil quality and land usage assessment based on crop growing cycles.
The race is on to figure out how the world will sustainably feed 9 billion people by the year 2050. Thankfully there are a number of startups tackling the problem from a number of different angles. Companies like Apeel are helping extend the shelf life of products. There is an entire sector of cell-based meat startups working to feed us cultured protein instead of devoting so many resources to raising animals. And partnerships like the one between CropX and NASA Harvest can help spur the adoption of more precision agriculture to reduce waste in the growing process.