Is the Coffee Ready?
May 14, 2001
Coffee is the leading agricultural commodity traded on world markets, and Hawaiian coffee is some of the finest in the world. A key to producing excellent coffee is knowing the right time to harvest the beans. A research team from Clark University will use the Pathfinder-Plus aircraft, a high-flying solar-powered Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV) built by AeroVironment, Inc., to loiter for long periods over crop fields during the harvest season. Researchers plan to use the craft's unique capability to provide the growers with spectral (or color) images of their crops. From this information the growers will know, down to the day, the best time for harvesting the beans, bringing the best flavor to consumers. Part of NASA's UAV-based science demonstration program, these flights will show the ability of this type of aircraft to carry Earth-viewing scientific payloads in long-duration missions at altitudes exceeding the