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New Aussie research center to collect fresh data on Earth from space

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A new space research center announced by Australia's national science agency on Wednesday will help give astronomers and scientists a whole new perspective on Earth, local media reported Wednesday.

The Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) laid out plans for the "Centre for Earth Observation," which will focus on collecting and analyzing data about Earth from space, and give scientists fresh insights about our planet.

The new center will maximize the benefits of observing Earth from space, and its operation is expected to further develop Australia's 2.3 billion US dollar a-year space sector.

Executive Director for CSIRO Digital, National Facilities and Collections Dave Williams said CSIRO was recognized globally as an expert in Earth observation from space, particularly in data modelling, analytics and applications.

"The development of new products and services based on satellite-derived data presents a growth opportunity for Australia's space sector," Williams said on Wednesday.

"Our new CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation will be an open door for governments and businesses to access the wealth of CSIRO's expertise as well as those of our partners."

Data about Earth, collected by satellites orbiting the planet, is critical to understanding how our world works, he said.

Satellite data is used in environmental management, for making accurate weather forecasts and monitoring natural disasters, and in commercial applications such as precision agriculture and transport logistics.

"Our goal is to provide technical support to the Australian space sector and help streamline research and the operation of projects through advances in remote sensing technologies," said the center's director Alex Held, an international expert in Earth observation programs and policy, remote sensing and vegetation mapping, on Wednesday.

The center has already signed its first agreements, including one on satellite calibration and validation with CSIRO's partner, Geoscience Australia, for the Digital Earth Australia program.

This project will further improve the accuracy of satellite-derived data and be an important Australian contribution to international satellite missions.

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