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Remote Sensing and Space Sciences

Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (RSSS) is a broad discipline examining the interaction of electromagnetic fields with material media, with a concentration on applications to the space sciences. It encompasses research areas such as aeronomy, geosciences, atmospheric science, remote sensing, wave propagation, electro-optics, plasma science, signal processing, and communications. Researchers use radar, lidar, and passive optical techniques to probe the Earth's upper atmosphere to learn its physical, chemical, and dynamic processes. Wave propagation studies are performed with MF (medium frequency) radar, meteor radar, the global positioning system (GPS) and incoherent backscatter radar.

Researchers carry out a wide range of theoretical and experimental programs in lidar systems, laser ranging and altimetry, optical communications, geophysical imaging, and signal and image processing. Two advanced lidar systems use atmospheric sodium and iron as scattering media from metals deposited by meteors in the upper atmosphere. Optical imaging, spectroscopy, and interferometry are employed to passively observe atmospheric emission and scattering processes. Field campaigns include the use of spacecraft and aircraft platforms as well as a number of ground stations, such as Antarctica, Greenland, Peru, Chile, Australia, Puerto Rico, and US sites in Urbana, IL, New Mexico and Hawaii.

NEW: RSSS will be hosting a workshop to develop a large aperature lidar/optical facility for observations of the upper atmosphere from 30-1000 km in May 2012.  More information can be found on the workshop page.