Spectroscopy has existed for more than three centuries now. Nonetheless, significant scientific advances have been achieved. We discuss the history of spectroscopy in relation to emerging technologies and applications. Advanced focal plane arrays, optical design, and intelligent on-board logic are prime prospective technologies. Scalable approaches in pre-processing of imaging spectrometer data will receive additional focus. Finally, we focus on new applications monitoring transitional ecological zones, where human impact and disturbance have highest impact as well as in monitoring changes in our natural resources and environment We conclude that imaging spectroscopy enables mapping of biophysical and biochemical variables of the Earth's surface and atmospheric composition with unprecedented accuracy.