New Zealand's Center for Space Science Technology (CSST), in partnership with NASA, has measured plant temperatures and how they respond to stress.
NASA has delivered refrigerator-sized ECOSTRESS equipment to the International Space Station as part of its one-year mission.
Capture temperature measurements on the Earth's surface and transfer data to Earth.
Dave Kelbe, CSST's leading scientist, said that as with humans, if the temperature of a plant deviates from a standard, it means something is wrong.
"When a plant becomes too hot, it closes the pores, stops sweating, stops absorbing carbon dioxide, and stops growing."
Researchers at the University of Waikato, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research and National Wafer and Water Institute (NIWA) will contribute to the project's New Zealand-based research.
Each New Zealand partner manages a national ecological research site and provides its own data to the project.
Dr. Kelbe said New Zealand researchers played an important role in promoting a scientific understanding of how plants used water.
"By supporting this project through collaboration, we have increased the quality and accuracy of data in New Zealand, and know that if we are involved in what we want, we can confidently trust the data to make decisions."
Dr. Kelbe said the data could be used to design smart irrigation techniques and better estimate carbon uptake to achieve net greenhouse gas emissions targets.
He said farmers would benefit the environment as well as productivity.