Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Land surface Solid earth Biosphere Human Dimensions

Recent Imagery

You will be directed to the NASA Visible Earth webpage when you select Images by Mission below, or click on the images at right that are randomly generated to represent four out of all possible topics.

You are here

Polarization & Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL)

Click image for alternate view

Status: Completed
Mission Category: A-Train
Launch Date: December 4, 2004
Launch Location: Kourou, French Guiana
Designed Life: December 4, 2006
Actual Completion Date: December 18, 2013

The French Space Agency CNES launched the Polarization & Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL) spacecraft into the A-Train orbit in December 2004. Originally designed to be a 2-year mission, PARASOL flew within ~30 seconds of the CALIPSO and CloudSat satellites. In early December 2009, the PARASOL satellite orbit was lowered under the A-train, which enabled it to keep sharing data periodically with the A-train members. On November 16, 2011, PARASOL was lowered to 9.5 km under the A-Train and continues its nominal mission observing clouds and aerosols. PARASOL fully exited the A-Train and ceased operation on December 18, 2013. PARASOL made measurements of the total and polarized light in several wavelengths and at several different viewing angles. PARASOL’s Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances (POLDER) instrument cycled through eight narrow wavelength bands and, for certain wavelengths, sampled three distinct polarizations. All of these data are combined to provide a thorough assessment of the state of the light reflected by the coupled surface-atmosphere system.

Key Polarization & Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar Facts

Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5 G+
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 705km
Inclination: 98°
Local Node:Approximate time, at the equator when vehicle is directly overhead. 1:30 p.m.
Origination: France
Instruments: POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectance)

Relevant Science Focus Areas:

  • Atmospheric Composition
  • Carbon Cycle, Ecosystems, and Biogeochemistry
  • Climate Variability and Change
  • Water and Energy Cycles

Relevant Science Questions:

  • How is the global Earth system changing?

Related Applications:

  • Agricultural Efficiency
  • Air Quality
  • Carbon Management
  • Ecological Forecasting
  • Energy Management