SmartSat CRC announces ‘Maya Nula’ satellite research program to foster Australia’s agriculture sector

SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios officially launching the Maya Nula Research Program. Image credit: SmartSat CRC

The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is launching “Maya Nula,” a new research program aimed at developing satellite Earth Observation capability with sensor technology to advance Australia’s agriculture industry. 

The research program is intended to create an agricultural intelligence capability from space in an effort to help Australian farmers reduce risk and boost agricultural productivity through environmentally friendly processes. 

The capability is dubbed “Maya Nula,” which translates to “eyes here, there, everywhere,” and will support the implementation and reporting on improved climate-resilient and sustainable farming practices. 

As part of the program, SmartSAT will develop a series of projects to create a measurement, reporting, and verification tool for communicating sustainable farming practices on soil health, crop conditions, biosecurity, and the environment. 

The SmartSAT-led projects will be co-funded by research organisations, the government, and industry. 

Professor Andy Koronios, CEO of SmartSAT, said space assets combined with on-ground sensor technology can assist in monitoring crops and developing more sophisticated prediction models to better guide commercial outcomes and protect the environment. 

Equipped with enhanced agricultural intelligence using terrestrial and space technologies, Maya Nula will is expected to enable farmers to deliver higher yields of healthy food, meet the industry’s needs, and increase Australia’s exports of agricultural products. 

“SmartSat is committed to protecting and preserving our natural resources alongside First Nations people, who have a deep understanding of Australia’s land and conservation practices. By integrating climate resilience and supply provenance practices into farming, Maya Nula can help Australian farmers adapt to changing,” said Koronios. 

Dr Jasmin Muir, program lead for Maya Nula and principal scientist in earth observation at SmartSat, said the research project is a necessary investment to ensure the security and prosperity of Australian farming’s future under changing climate scenarios. 

“As we look to safeguard and enhance Australia’s agriculture sector for the coming years, sovereign space-based monitoring capability is critical. It is essential we start to plant the seeds of technology development now to ensure Australian agriculture is at the cutting edge in the decades ahead,” Muir said. 

The Maya Nula Research Program is slated to be unveiled at a ceremony in Canberra attended by Dharug elders, who were consulted for the development of the project.