Tag Archives: National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration

NASA Space Place – NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) To Revolutionize Earth-Watching

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in May, 2016.

By Dr. Ethan Siegel

2013february2_spaceplaceIf you want to collect data with a variety of instruments over an entire planet as quickly as possible, there are two trade-offs you have to consider: how far away you are from the world in question, and what orientation and direction you choose to orbit it. For a single satellite, the best of all worlds comes from a low-Earth polar orbit, which does all of the following:

* orbits the Earth very quickly: once every 101 minutes,
* is close enough at 824 km high to take incredibly high-resolution imagery,
* has five separate instruments each probing various weather and climate phenomena,
* and is capable of obtaining full-planet coverage every 12 hours.

The type of data this new satellite – the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) — will take will be essential to extreme weather prediction and in early warning systems, which could have severely mitigated the impact of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Each of the five instruments on board are fundamentally different and complementary to one another. They are:

1. The Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), which will measure the 3D structure of the atmosphere, water vapor and temperature in over 1,000 infrared spectral channels. This instrument is vital for weather forecasting up to seven days in advance of major weather events.

2. The Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), which assists CrIS by adding 22 microwave channels to improve temperature and moisture readings down to 1 Kelvin accuracy for tropospheric layers.

3. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument, which takes visible and infrared pictures at a resolution of just 400 meters (1312 feet), enables us to track not just weather patterns but fires, sea temperatures, nighttime light pollution as well as ocean-color observations.

4. The Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS), which measures how the ozone concentration varies with altitude and in time over every location on Earth’s surface. This instrument is a vital tool for understanding how effectively ultraviolet light penetrates the atmosphere.

5. Finally, the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant System (CERES) will help understand the effect of clouds on Earth’s energy balance, presently one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate modeling.

The JPSS-1 satellite is a sophisticated weather monitoring tool, and paves the way for its’ sister satellites JPSS-2, 3 and 4. It promises to not only provide early and detailed warnings for disasters like hurricanes, volcanoes and storms, but for longer-term effects like droughts and climate changes. Emergency responders, airline pilots, cargo ships, farmers and coastal residents all rely on NOAA and the National Weather Service for informative short-and-long-term data. The JPSS constellation of satellites will extend and enhance our monitoring capabilities far into the future.

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Caption: an artist’s concept of the JPSS-2 Satellite for NOAA and NASA by Orbital ATK (top); complete temperature map of the world from NOAA’s National Weather Service (bottom).

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NASA News Digest: Space Science For 6 – 22 January 2016

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The NASA News Service provides up-to-date announcements of NASA policy, news events, and space science. A recent selection of space science articles are provided below, including direct links to the full announcements. Those interested in receiving these announcements from NASA can subscribe to their service by sending an email to: hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov?subject=subscribe

NASA’s CORAL Campaign Will Raise Reef Studies to a New Level

RELEASE 16-003 (Click here for the full article) – 6 January 2016

2016jan25_16_003A new three-year NASA field expedition gets underway this year that will use advanced instruments on airplanes and in the water to survey more of the world’s coral reefs in far greater detail than has ever been assessed before. The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) will measure the condition of these threatened ecosystems and create a unique database of uniform scale and quality.

Coral reefs, sometimes called the rainforests of the sea, are home to a quarter of all ocean fish species. They protect shorelines from storms and provide food for millions of people, yet very little of the world’s reef area has been studied scientifically. Virtually all measurements have been made by expensive, labor-intensive diving expeditions. Many reefs never have been surveyed, and those reefs that have been studied were measured only at a few dive sites.

“Right now, the state of the art for collecting coral reef data is scuba diving with a tape measure,” said Eric Hochberg, CORAL principal investigator and scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, St. George’s. “It’s analogous to looking at a few trees and then trying to say what the forest is doing.”

To find out more about NASA’s Earth science research, visit: www.nasa.gov/earth

UPDATE: NASA Advisory Panel Releases 2015 Safety Report

RELEASE 16-004 (Click here for the full article) – 13 January 2016

2016jan25_asap_annualreportThe Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), an advisory committee that reports to NASA and Congress, has issued its 2015 annual report examining NASA’s safety performance over the past year and highlighting accomplishments, issues and concerns to agency and government officials.

The report, released Wednesday, is based on the panel’s 2015 fact-finding and quarterly public meetings; “insight” visits and meetings; direct observations of NASA operations and decision-making processes; discussions with NASA management, employees and contractors; and the panel members’ own experience.

“The panel continues to steadfastly believe competition between Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is essential to achieving a safe and productive Commercial Crew program. The Orbital-3, SpaceX CRS-7, and Russian Soyuz/Progress 59 cargo accidents underscore this position,” said Joseph W. Dyer, retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and ASAP chairman. “The three cargo accidents, and resulting loss of resupply missions, yielded a challenging year for the International Space Station (ISS), but NASA’s planning and logistics stewardship of the ISS minimized impact and allowed for continued operations.

For more information about the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, and to view the 2015 report, visit: oiir.hq.nasa.gov/asap/index.html

NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

RELEASE 16-008 (Click here for the full article) – 20 January 2016

Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the old record by this much.

The 2015 temperatures continue a long-term warming trend, according to analyses by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York (GISTEMP). NOAA scientists concur with the finding that 2015 was the warmest year on record based on separate, independent analyses of the data. Because weather station locations and measurements change over time, there is some uncertainty in the individual values in the GISTEMP index. Taking this into account, NASA analysis estimates 2015 was the warmest year with 94 percent certainty.

The full 2015 surface temperature data set and the complete methodology used to make the temperature calculation are available at: data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

The slides for the Wednesday, Jan. 20 news conference are available at: go.nasa.gov/2015climate

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit: www.nasa.gov/earth

NASA Remembers Its Fallen Heroes, 30th Anniversary of Challenger Accident

RELEASE 16-002 (Click here for the full article) – 22 January 2016

2016jan25_dor2015NASA will pay will tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency’s Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Jan. 28, the 30th anniversary of the Challenger accident. NASA’s Day of Remembrance honors members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and other agency senior officials will hold an observance and wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia starting at 9 a.m. EST. Following the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington, various NASA centers will hold remembrance events Thursday for employees and the families of those lost in service to America’s space program.

At 10 a.m., NASA Television will provide live coverage of a wreath-laying ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The observance is hosted by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, which is a private, not-for-profit organization. It built and maintains the Space Mirror Memorial, which was dedicated in 1991 to honor all astronauts who lost their lives on missions or during training. It has been designated a National Memorial by Congress.

The agency also is paying tribute to its fallen astronauts with special online content available beginning Wednesday, Jan. 27 at: www.nasa.gov/dor

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit: www.nasa.gov/nasatv

NASA News Digest: Space Science For 7 April – 16 April 2015

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The NASA News service provides up-to-date announcements of NASA policy, news events, and space science. A recent selection of space science articles are provided below, including direct links to the full announcements. Those interested in receiving these news announcements directly from NASA can subscribe to their service by sending an email to:

hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov?subject=subscribe

NASA Joins Forces To Put Satellite Eyes On Threat To U.S. Freshwater

RELEASE 15-058 (Click here for the full article) – 7 April 2015

IDL TIFF fileNASA has joined forces with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Geological Survey to transform satellite data designed to probe ocean biology into information that will help protect the American public from harmful freshwater algal blooms.

Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and taste and odor in drinking water. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.

The new $3.6 million, multi-agency effort will use ocean color satellite data to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and an information distribution system to aid expedient public health advisories.

“The vantage point of space not only contributes to a better understanding of our home planet, it helps improve lives around the world,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We’re excited to be putting NASA’s expertise in space and scientific exploration to work protecting public health and safety.”

For more information on NASA’s Earth science activities, visit: www.nasa.gov/earth

NASA, USGS Begin Work On Landsat 9 To Continue Land Imaging Legacy

RELEASE 15-061 (Click here for the full article) – 16 April 2015

15-061NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have started work on Landsat 9, planned to launch in 2023, which will extend the Earth-observing program’s record of land images to half a century.

The Landsat program has provided accurate measurements of Earth’s land cover since 1972. With data from Landsat satellites, ecologists have tracked deforestation in South America, water managers have monitored irrigation of farmland in the American West, and researchers have watched the growth of cities worldwide. With the help of the program’s open archive, firefighters have assessed the severity of wildfires and scientists have mapped the retreat of mountain glaciers.

The President’s fiscal year 2016 budget calls for initiation of a Landsat 9 spacecraft as an upgraded rebuild of Landsat 8, as well as development of a low-cost thermal infrared (TIR) free-flying satellite for launch in 2019 to reduce the risk of a data gap in this important measurement. The TIR free flyer will ensure data continuity by flying in formation with Landsat 8. The budget also calls for the exploration of technology and systems innovations to provide more cost effective and advanced capabilities in future land-imaging missions beyond Landsat 9, such as finding ways to miniaturize instruments to be launched on smaller, less expensive satellites.

For more information on NASA’s Earth science activities, visit: www.nasa.gov/earth

For more information on the Landsat program, visit: landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov and landsat.usgs.gov

NASA Spacecraft Achieves Unprecedented Success Studying Mercury

RELEASE 15-067 (Click here for the full article) – 16 April 2015

2015april16_messengerstillAfter extraordinary science findings and technological innovations, a NASA spacecraft launched in 2004 to study Mercury will impact the planet’s surface, most likely on April 30, after it runs out of propellant.

NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft will impact the planet at more than 8,750 miles per hour (3.91 kilometers per second) on the side of the planet facing away from Earth. Due to the expected location, engineers will be unable to view in real time the exact location of impact.

On Tuesday, mission operators in mission control at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, completed the fourth in a series of orbit correction maneuvers designed to delay the spacecraft’s impact into the surface of Mercury. The last maneuver is scheduled for Friday, April 24.

“Following this last maneuver, we will finally declare the spacecraft out of propellant, as this maneuver will deplete nearly all of our remaining helium gas,” said Daniel O’Shaughnessy, mission systems engineer at APL. “At that point, the spacecraft will no longer be capable of fighting the downward push of the sun’s gravity.”

For a complete listing of science findings and technological achievements of the mission visit: www.nasa.gov/messenger

NASA Spacecraft Achieves Unprecedented Success Studying Mercury

RELEASE M15-061 (Click here for the full article) – 16 April 2015

m15-061bNASA is celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th anniversary with a variety of events highlighting its groundbreaking achievements and scientific contributions with activities running April 20-26.

Hubble, the world’s first space telescope, was launched on April 24, 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In its quarter-century in orbit, the observatory has transformed our understanding of our solar system and beyond, and helped us find our place among the stars.

Starting at midnight EDT on Monday, April 20, and running through Sunday, April 26, images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope will be broadcast several times each hour on the Toshiba Vision dual LED screens in Times Square, New York.

The IMAX movie Hubble 3D is playing at select theatres across the United States throughout April. Hubble images come to vast, three-dimensional life, taking audiences through the telescope’s 25-year existence and putting them in orbit with astronauts during the latest servicing mission. For more information and the trailer, visit: hubblesite.org/hubble_20/imax_hubble_3d/

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit: www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more Hubble 25th Anniversary events, visit: www.hubble25th.org

For more information about NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, visit: www.nasa.gov/hubble