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Mission Brochures

NASA's Earth Observing System provides a variety of materials available for download. Feel free to choose a category below:

GRACE-FO Mission Brochure
PDF icon GRACE_FO Mission Brochure_508.pdf, Binary Data GRACE_FO.ibooks

Changes in how mass is distributed within and between Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, groundwater and ice sheets are fundamental indicators of the large-scale dynamics of the planet. For more than 15 years, NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission monitored mass changes every month with far-reaching impact on our understanding of the Earth system and how it is evolving. GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) continues the legacy of GRACE, tracking Earth’s water movement and surface mass changes across the planet. Monitoring changes in ice sheets and glaciers, near-surface and underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, as well as changes in sea level and ocean currents provides an integrated global view of how Earth’s water cycle and energy balance are evolving—measurements that have important applications for everyday life.

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ICESat-2 Mission Brochure
PDF icon ICESat-2 Mission Brochure PDF (9.2 MB), Binary Data ICESat-2 Mission Brochure iBook

ICESat-2 will take measurements across the globe and provide an incredibly precise height map of our planet in unprecedented detail. Its focus will be on Earth’s poles, including the Arctic region where temperatures are rising faster than at other latitudes. Read more about how this innovative spacecraft will help scientists check on the health of Earth's frozen regions.

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CERES FM6
PDF icon CERES Mission Brochure 508.pdf

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System, or CERES, instrument measures reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. Data products from CERES include both solar-reflected and Earth-emitted radiation from the top of the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. These measurements, called radiative fluxes, represent the amount of energy radiated through a given area within a given time range. CERES provides the only global top of atmosphere energy budget dataset. In addition, the CERES science team uses measurements from a high spatial resolution visible/infrared imager flying alongside CERES to infer a variety of cloud properties, including cloud amount, altitude, thickness, and the size of cloud particles. Data from CERES FM6 will help scientists further develop a quantitative understanding of the links between the Earth’s energy budget and the properties of atmosphere and surface that define it.

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CYGNSS Mission Brochure
PDF icon CYGNSS_508.pdf, Binary Data CYGNSS.ibooks

This brochure provides an overview of NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission--NASA’s first satellite mission to measure surface winds in the inner core of tropical cyclones, including regions beneath the eyewall and intense inner rainbands that could not previously be measured from space. These measurements will help scientists obtain a better understanding of what causes variations in tropical cyclone intensity, helping to improve our ability to forecast tropical cyclones such as Hurricane Katrina.

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NASA's Earth-Observing Missions
PDF icon Earth Observing Mission Brochure_2015.pdf

To study the Earth as a whole system and understand how it is changing, NASA develops and supports a large number of Earth-observing missions. This brochure provides an overview of NASA’s operating and future missions as of October 2015.

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SAGE III on the International Space Station
PDF icon ISS-SAGE III Mission Brochure PDF (4 MB), Binary Data ISS-SAGE III iBook (36 MB)

NASA’s Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) family of remote-sensing-satellite instruments has long measured ozone (O3) concentrations, stratospheric aerosols, water vapor, and other trace gases that influence Earth’s atmosphere. Planned for launch in 2016, SAGE III on the International Space Station will continue the legacy of accurate SAGE measurements. This brochure provides details about the instrument, launch and installation, ground system and data, and more!

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CATS: Measuring Clouds and Aerosols from the ISS
PDF icon ISS-CATS_Final_508.pdf, Binary Data ISS_CATS.ibooks

In 2011 the International Space Station (ISS) NASA Research Office offered scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center a mounting location onboard the space station for a new lidar instrument called the Clouds and Aerosol Transport System (CATS). Described in this brochure, CATS provides vertical profiles of cloud and aerosol properties at three wavelengths (1064, 532, and 355 nanometers). The CATS 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.

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ISS-Rapid Scatterometer (2014)
PDF icon ISS-RapidScat Mission Brochure (11.11 MB), Binary Data ISS-RapidScat.ibooks

Described in this brochure, NASA’s International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, is the first scientific instrument specifically created to observe Earth winds from the space station. Scheduled for launch in late 2014, the experimental mission 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.

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Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (2014)
PDF icon OCO-2MissionBrochure_final_508.pdf, Binary Data OCO2.ibooks

This brochure describes NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) mission. OCO-2 is the first NASA satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide, and it will do so with greater precision and detail than current instruments. Data from OCO-2 will help scientists understand where carbon dioxide is being emitted and removed from the atmosphere, subsequently allowing them to make projections of how Earth’s climate might respond to these changes in the future.

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Soil Moisture Active Passive (2014)
PDF icon PDF, Binary Data SMAP-Soil Moisture Active Passive.ibooks

The Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, mission (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. As suggested by the name “Active Passive,” SMAP will carry an active microwave radar and a passive microwave radiometer that will measure across a 1000-kilometer (~621-mile) wide swath. The ability to measure global soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state from space with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution will allow scientists to better understand the processes that link the Earth’s water, energy, and carbon cycles, as well as enhance the predictive skills of weather and climate models. In addition, scientists can use these data to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities. Societal benefits include improved water-resource management, agricultural productivity, and wildfire and landslide predictions.

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