Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (RSSS) is a broad discipline examining the interaction of electromagnetic fields with material media, with a concentration on applications to the space sciences. It encompasses research areas such as aeronomy, geosciences, atmospheric science, remote sensing, wave propagation, electro-optics, plasma science, signal processing, and communications. Researchers use radar, lidar, and passive optical techniques to probe the Earth's upper atmosphere to learn its physical, chemical, and dynamic processes. Wave propagation studies are performed with MF (medium frequency) radar, meteor radar, the global positioning system (GPS) and incoherent backscatter radar.
Researchers carry out a wide range of theoretical and experimental programs in lidar systems, laser ranging and altimetry, optical communications, geophysical imaging, and signal and image processing. Two advanced lidar systems use atmospheric sodium and iron as scattering media from metals deposited by meteors in the upper atmosphere. Optical imaging, spectroscopy, and interferometry are employed to passively observe atmospheric emission and scattering processes. Researchers develop new instrumentation and techniques to analyze data from NASA satellite and aircraft missions. Field campaigns are conducted from a number of ground stations, such as Antarctica, Greenland, Australia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Morocco, Puerto Rico, and a variety of US sites.