Advanced Information System Technology

Building the Next-Generation of Earth Science Software

The Advanced Information System Technology Program funds evolutionary and disruptive projects that meet NASA’s goals to effectively monitor and understand our planet.

Some projects find new ways to create missions from the ground up while others develop tools to improve how we use Earth science data already collected by land, air and space. The projects are inspired by NASA’s Earth Science Focus Areas, which include:

  • Atmospheric composition;
  • Weather and atmospheric dynamics;
  • Climate variability and change;
  • Water and energy cycle;
  • Carbon cycle and ecosystems; and
  • Earth surface and interior

The projects also address the Designated Observables defined by the National Academies of Science and Engineering’s 2017 – 2027 Decadal Survey. These include:

  • Aerosols-Clouds, Convection and Precipitation;
  • Mass Change;
  • Surface Biology and Geology; and
  • Surface Deformation and Change

The program develops technologies that lower risk, cost, size and development time for new information systems. It aims to increase access to science data and enable new observation measurements and information products.

New Observing Strategy and Analytic Center Framework

  • New Observing Strategy: Every Earth observing mission begins with a mission design. This thrust helps develop and evolve new ways of designing an Earth observation system to incorporate technological advances, like smaller satellites and smarter sensors, and information gathered from space, air and ground-based sources. We have more observation capabilities and tools than ever before, providing researchers with an arsenal of data-collecting possibilities. This program aims to develop architectures that could autonomously control and consolidate data from sensor webs, small satellites and UAVs. Technology advances are creating opportunities to make new measurements and to continue others more effectively. 
  • Analytic Center Framework: Once an Earth observing mission is in operation, we can expect a lot of data back on land. Data from different missions often arrive in different formats, and when combined with ground-based and airborne-derived data, things get tricky. Scientists can look to this framework, which incorporates software tools like machine learning, to help them more easily use and visualize the data in their research. 


In February 2020, AIST hosted a New Observing Strategy workshop in Washington, D.C. To learn more about this workshop and view presentations, please visit:

NOS Workshop


AIST uses the NASA Research Announcement as its investment vehicle. Links to the full solicitations and awards are listed below.