Space age soil

Isaac Larsen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a three-year, $265,000 New Investigator Program grant by NASA's Earth Science Division. The grant will allow the geochemist and his team to study Midwest soil erosion on an unprecedented scale by taking a view of the problem from space. Larsen proposes to use high-resolution images to map out the presence and absence of topsoil in areas where images are available from the right time of year - either after fall harvest and before it snows, or after the snow melts and before spring planting with specific attention on the "organic", carbon-rich part of the soil that is so vital to fertility and productivity.