What Technologies Are Used to Explore Deserts?

technologies-used-explore-deserts Credit: Buena Vista Images/Stone/Getty Images

Technologies used to explore deserts include robotic rovers, satellites, online mapping software and image-processing programs. NASA scientists use robotic rovers to explore deserts to prepare for the desert-like terrain located on Mars and the moon.

Rovers are used to explore extreme environments, such as deserts, that are not very hospitable to life. Sensors built into the rovers gather information about the environment and send it back to the scientists.

Satellites can also be used to explore deserts. For instance, satellites record images of Earth and relay the information to online mapping services. This information allows scientists to observe the topography and terrain from above. Then different imaging-processing programs are applied to the images provided by the satellites to enhance them.

A scientist explored and discovered a small crater in the Bayuda Desert in Sudan by using Google Maps, AstroFrac Tool and GIMP; AstroFrac and GIMP are image-processing software tools available for free online. The discovery of the crater in Sudan is doubly impressive, as small craters are difficult to find because they disappear quickly due to weather and water erosion. Free software tools such as these give those who aren't scientists the chance to explore deserts as long as they have Internet access and a computer.