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Cosmic Sense (DFG Research Unit)

Cosmic Sense

Research Modul:
Remote Sensing

German Research Foundation (DFG)
Project partner of the Cosmic Sense Research Unit 
2018 - 2021
Research Associate:
M.Sc. Veronika Döppner
Project Lead:
Prof. Dr. Birgit Kleinschmit
Dr. Michael Förster
Förster, Michael


The exchange of water between atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere is a very complex system in which soil moisture plays a fundamental role. Soil moisture measurements to date range from point measurements to estimates of soil moisture for entire basin catchments, but they always have to compromise between temporal and spatial resolution.

Cosmic Sense is a DFG-funded joint project consisting of ten subprojects in which a wide variety of disciplines will address the question of large-scale soil moisture determination with high spatial and temporal resolution in small catchment areas. Cosmic-Ray Neutron Sensing (CRNS) with innovative applications will be used. Based on changes in neutron density, these measurement methods determine the amount of hydrogen pool present over larger areas of the soil surface. This measuring method, together with hydrological modelling and remote sensing, has the potential to bridge the gap between existing scales from point to field and catchment area scales and to identify spatial patterns within catchment areas.

The aim of the remote sensing subproject of the Geoinformation in Environmental Planning Lab is to understand the process-based relationships between the integral spatial recording of soil moisture by Cosmic-Ray Neutron Sensing (CRNS) and the predominantly surface-based prediction with remote sensing detectors. Hyperspectral and thermal drone data as well as satellite data, mainly from Copernicus missions, are used for this purpose.

Within the subproject, time series of drones will be recorded covering as many CRNS probes as possible. We mainly work with thermal cameras (TeAx Flir Tau 2 336) and a hyperspectral camera (Headwall Nano Hyperspec), as shown in the video below.

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Cosmic Sense