Presented By

A typical satellite orbiting Earth can identify a forest. Space data startup Pixxel’s satellites, equipped with powerful hyperspectral imaging technology, can identify the tree species and tell you how healthy the leaves are. With three satellites in orbit and six more planned for launch, the Google-funded company’s constellation can help monitor forests, track crop health, and look for methane leaks. Pixxel has more than 50 customers, including agritech companies and mining groups, and this year landed a contract with the U.S. government’s National Reconnaissance Office. “We’re building a health monitor for the planet,” says Pixxel co-founder and CEO Awais Ahmed.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Hydration Made Fun
A Modern Flip Phone
A Saliva Pregnancy Test
More Than a Fast Car
A Breakthrough Bassinet
EDIT POST