MASON PECK: In my lab at Cornell, we take basic ideas, basic research ideas, and launch it into space and see what happens. What we've done for the first time with this project is translate our basic ideas into something practical here on Earth. And one of the surprises is how hard it is to get something to survive just on the surface of the Earth. You might think that space is a hostile environment, and it is. But rainwater is really hard to deal with.
HUNTER ADAMS: I have 10 of these devices on essentially dog collars. And then we put those dog collars on the newborn calves up at Sunnyside Farms at Scipio Center. And right now, what they're doing is gathering temperature, humidity, and then sort of activity levels.
So I have an accelerometer on there, a gyroscope, a GPS. Francisco Leal-Yepes is the professor up there. He's trying to figure out if the quality of the air in terms of temperature, humidity, and eventually ammonia, if we can correlate that at all with respiratory infections.
There are a few points of this deployment. One of them is to try to show that there's a significant microclimate in the leaf canopies. So I'm trying to show that. I'm trying to show that the temperature and humidity can vary significantly as you move down the slope towards the lake.
Then the third point has more to do with the space application, which is I talk about the utility of these devices for doing planetary science. Earth is a really convenient planet to do this sort of proof of concept studies on. So the third point of this deployment is it's a case study planetary science mission.
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Doctoral student Hunter Adams is deploying tiny satellites on the Earth's surface to monitor environmental conditions as a dry run for using the technology for space research. The data he is harvesting can also help New York farmers make more informed decisions about growing crops and caring for dairy cows.