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Featured Content

15 Things Terra has Taught Us

For more than 15 years, NASA’s Terra spacecraft has enabled new discoveries in Earth System Science. In the January-February issue of The Earth Observer, we provide a sense of what Terra has provided us, and explore 15 findings—on an instrument-by-instrument basis—that are interesting and useful in their own right, and that serve as examples of what Terra has accomplished and will continue to accomplish for years to come!

iBooks Now Available!

Several of our communication publications are now available for download as iBooks. Complete with bold rich colors, interactive content, and other multimedia enhancements, the collection includes the Understanding Earth series of science story booklets (The Icy Arctic, Biodiversity, Biomass Burning, and The Journey of Dust), as well as five in-depth brochures about recently launched Earth-observing missions (Aquarius, OCO-2, ISS-RapidScat, CATS, and SMAP). New iBooks will continue to be added as they become available. Download free copies here.

Aura Celebrates Ten Years in Orbit

Just over ten years ago, the NASA launch and science teams assembled at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for the Aura launch. After two delays due to minor problems, on July 15, 2004, shortly after 3:00 AM PDT the Delta II rocket lifted off, carrying the spacecraft toward a polar, sun-synchronous orbit. Still in orbit today, Aura has well exceeded its five-year mission lifetime. The stand-alone feature in the November-December issue of The Earth Observer provides an overview of Aura results over the 10 years since its launch, and acknowledges the work of more than 200 researchers.

CATS: Measuring Clouds and Aerosols from the ISS

Launched January 10, 2015, NASA's Clouds and Aerosol Transport System (CATS) mission provides vertical profiles of cloud and aerosol properties at three wavelengths (1064, 532, and 355 nanometers) from its mounting location onboard the International Space Station. The mission seeks to build on the CALIPSO data record, provide observational lidar data to improve research and operational modeling programs, and demonstrate new lidar retrievals of clouds and aerosols from space. These technologies and the science gained from the CATS mission will be used to design future missions that will study clouds and aerosols and their affects on Earth’s climate and air quality for years to come.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Stops by the Hyperwall

The Earth Observing System (EOS) Science Program Support Office (SPSO) organized and coordinated NASA’s Hyperwall presence at Our Ocean Conference 2014, hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The meeting took place at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, June 16-17, 2014. Several senior-level managers from NASA Headquarters and Goddard Space Flight Center used the Hyperwall to deliver presentations highlighting NASA’s role in studying Earth’s ocean from space. On day two of the meeting, John Kerry and environmental activist and American actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio visited the Hyperwall. To learn more and to view photos from the event, check out the September-October issue of The Earth Observer newsletter. 

ISS-RapidScat Mission Brochure

NASA’s International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, is the first scientific instrument specifically created to observe winds from the space station. Successfully launched on September 21, 2014, the experimental mission (described in this brochure) will measure ocean-surface wind speeds and directions, providing data that are needed to support weather and marine forecasting—including tracking storms and hurricanes—and climate research. The space station’s unique orbit will allow ISS-RapidScat to make the first direct observations of how ocean winds vary over the course of the day.

Integrating Carbon From the Ground Up: TCCON Turns Ten

In May 2004 a new approach for studying greenhouse gases in our atmosphere came from an unlikely source: a lone trailer in Park Falls, WI. Now a decade later, TCCON has expanded and provides important information about regional and global atmospheric levels of carbon-containing gases from many stations worldwide.

Dark Data Rescue: Shedding New Light on Old Photons

This article, from the May-June issue of The Earth Observer newsletter, recounts a fascinating effort to coax life—and science—out of data that were collected during the 1960s (from Nimbus 1, 2, and 3).

SMAP Mission Brochure

In January 2015, NASA will launch the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission. SMAP (described in this brochure) is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite mission designed to collect continuous global observations of surface soil moisture and freeze/thaw state every 2-3 days at 3 to 40 kilometer (~2 to 25 mile) spatial resolution.

OCO-2 Mission Brochure

In July 2014, NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission. OCO-2 (described in this brochure) is the first NASA satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide, and it will do so with greater precision and detail than current instruments.

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