An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk. The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could […]
An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk.
The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could mean it’s a leftover piece of a rocket.
The European Space Agency said the object has been orbiting Earth every three weeks in a “highly eccentric, non-circular orbit.”
Both ESA and NASA are excited to see the object reenter Earth’s atmosphere because it’ll help with research. ESA said the event will provide an opportunity to gather data and improve space agencies’ knowledge of how objects interact with Earth’s atmosphere.
“The first goal will be to better understand the reentry of satellites and debris from highly eccentric orbits,” Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre, said in a statement. “Second, it provides an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.”
WT1190F is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere around 6 p.m. (Sri Lanka time) and fall into the Indian Ocean about 62 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
Astronomers said the object will put on a spectacular show to those nearby as it turns into a bright strike against the mid-day sky.
For the past 58 years, starting in 1957, mankind has been launching enormous swarms of satellites and useless space debris in the vicinity of planet Earth. Many of these fragments swoop around our home planet at 17,000 miles per hour. When they collide at such high speeds, huge numbers of space debris fragments are instantly […]
For the past 58 years, starting in 1957, mankind has been launching
enormous swarms of satellites and useless space debris in the
vicinity of planet Earth. Many of these fragments swoop around our
home planet at 17,000 miles per hour. When they collide at such high
speeds, huge numbers of space debris fragments are instantly
created many of which continue to circle around the Earth with the
possibility of further collisions.
In the 1978 Donald Kessler, a talented researcher at NASA Houston,
realized that successive collisions could create ever larger swarms of
debris fragments that could, in turn, engage in further collisions to
create even more dangerous fragments. Soon the space around the
Earth would be swarming with dangerous, high-speed metallic
shrapnel. This phenomenon has, in the meantime, then called the
“Kessler Syndrome”. It is similar in concept to the nuclear chain
reactions that make atomic bombs possible. Donald Kessler made
careful estimates of the total tonnage of large objects in Earth orbit
that could end up imprisoning us on our beautiful, blue planet. Flying
space missions through swarms of high-speed debris could become
much too dangerous for anyone to advocate.
Separate studies have indicated that a highly energetic collision at a
speed of about five miles per second (typical for low-altitude impacts)
could create as many as 20 objects per pound of mass involved in
What can be done to minimize the probability of a runaway “Kessler
Syndrome” that could, theoretically, imprison all of us on planet
1. We could impose more stringent rules on the launching
satellites and the debris fragments that typically result from such a
launch. Some rules have already been established in conjunction
with space exploration. These could be made more stringent. And
they could be accompanied by fines or other penalties for those who
fail to comply.
2. We could remove existing debris fragments from space to
minimize the hazard of collisions. Some experts envision roving
capture devices (e. g., spaceborne drones) that would rendezvous
with — and remove — useless debris fragments from their orbits and
hurl them back to Earth into remote oceans areas for safe disposal.
3. Ground-based lasers could illuminate selected debris
fragments to push them out of orbit. Serious studies of this approach
have been conducted at NASA headquarters, at NASA Houston, and
at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
4. Large debris fragments could be tracked with precision with
ground-based and space-based sensors to pin down their trajectories
to a high degree of accuracy. Probable collisions could then be
predicted and spaceborne devices could be launched to nudge one
or both of the objects onto safe collision-free trajectories. Among
other approaches, puffs of air have been proposed to accomplish
In 1978 Donald Kessler managed to develop a highly imaginative
concept now called the Kessler Syndrome. His analysis indicated
that, if we continue on our present path, we could all become
prisoners on planet Earth unable to engage in the safe exploration of
outer space. Fortunately, techniques are available to help mitigate
this worrisome hazard.
Tom Logsdon, who penned this account, tells the story of the space
debris fragments now enveloping planet Earth in his special short
course: “ORBITAL AND LAUNCH MECHANICS” which is being
sponsored by the Applied Technology Institute on January 25 – 28,
2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and on March 1 – 4, 2016, in
These courses, which are lavishly illustrated with 400 full-color
visuals, also include detailed explanations of the counterintuitive
nature of powered flight maneuvers together with explanations of the
new “Superhighways in Space”, and the contrasting philosophies of
Russian and American booster rocket design.
The illustrative calculations included in the course all employ realworld
data values gleaned from the instructor’s professional
experiences in the aerospace industry. Each student will receive a
full-color version of every chart that appears on the screen, several
pamphlets and written explanations of the concepts under review,
and autographed copies of two of Logsdon’s published books.
A few slots are still available in those two classes. Register early to assure your acceptance.
Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.” NASA’s […]
Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.”
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said they are tracking 2015 TB145 through several optical observatories as well as by radar. The asteroid will fly by the Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon’s orbit on Oct. 31 at around 12:05 p.m. CST. The asteroid, which was only discovered Oct. 10 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 system, has a width of about 1,300 feet.
Scientists are excited about the asteroid’s Earth close buzz since it’s the closest currently known approach by an object this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 makes its debut in August 2027. That asteroid is about 2,600 feet wide.
Size aside, the Halloween space rock poses no danger to the Earth, according to NASA.
“The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.. “At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles — 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it.”
Scientists said the asteroid should have no “detectable effect” on the moon on anything on Earth, including the tides or tectonic plates.
IT LOOKS LIKE an alien balloon. Except that it flies at 17,500 mph in near-Earth orbit and can carry a science experiment—potentially your science experiment—for two months before it burns up in the atmosphere. And early next year, 20 of these ThumbSats will beam data back to a network of 50 listening stations all over the world. […]
IT LOOKS LIKE an alien balloon. Except that it flies at 17,500 mph in near-Earth orbit and can carry a science experiment—potentially your science experiment—for two months before it burns up in the atmosphere. And early next year, 20 of these ThumbSats will beam data back to a network of 50 listening stations all over the world.
Aerospace engineer Shaun Whitehead came up with the ThumbSat project because he wanted to help regular people send stuff into space. “We get slowed down by old-school ways of thinking,” he says. “I hope that ThumbSat accelerates progress in space, inspires everyone to look up.” His craft are so small that they fit into the nooks and crannies of commercial launchers, hitching a ride with bigger payloads and keeping costs down.
The people conducting the first experiments are a diverse group. Engineers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory hope to use a cluster of connected ThumbSats to study gravitational waves. Three teenage sisters from Tennessee who go by the moniker Chicks in Space want to orbit algae and sea monkey eggs. Artist Stefan G. Bucher will deploy magnetized fluids and shape-memory alloys.
Eventually a global network of volunteers, including a Boy Scout group in Wisconsin and a school in the Cook Islands, will monitor all the ThumbSat data. (Without receivers on those remote islands, there’d be a big gap in coverage out in the South Pacific.) Space is the place, and pretty soon anyone will be able to reach it.
Last weekend, NASA called for a press conference to announce a major discovery regarding the planet Mars. During the meeting, they revealed some pretty shocking information, completely changing what we once thought about the “red” planet that, suddenly, doesn’t seem so red anymore. 1. Mars Has Flowing Rivers Of Water On It NASA announced that […]
Last weekend, NASA called for a press conference to announce a major discovery regarding the planet Mars. During the meeting, they revealed some pretty shocking information, completely changing what we once thought about the “red” planet that, suddenly, doesn’t seem so red anymore.
1. Mars Has Flowing Rivers Of Water On It
NASA announced that Mars actually has rivers of flowing water on it. What we once believed to be an arid and rocky desert of a planet is actually seasonal, not unlike our own planet Earth.
2. Mars Could Have Had Extraterrestrial Life Living On It
Obviously, with the announcement that there is water on Mars, the possibility of life near the surface becomes ever more plausible.
Another interesting fact is that the possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been quite high.
“The possibility of life in the interior of Mars has always been very high. There’s certainly water somewhere in the crust of Mars … It’s very likely, I think, that there is life somewhere in the crust of Mars.” – Alfred McEwen, Principal Investigator, HiRISE, University of Arizona
3. Mars Was Once A Planet Very Much Like Earth, With A Giant Ocean
Mars is the planet most like Earth … [and in the past,] Mars was a very different planet, it had an extensive atmosphere, and in fact it had what is believed to have been a huge ocean, perhaps as large as two thirds the Northern Hemisphere. And that ocean may have been as much as a mile deep. So Mars indeed three billion years ago had extensive water resources. But something happened. Mars suffered a major climate change and lost its surface water.
4. Something Happened To The Planet That Drastically Changed Its Climate
Did historical intelligent life on the planet Mars have something to do with its drastic climate shift? At this point it’s impossible to say, but according to Dr. John Brandenburg, PhD, and plasma physicist, life on Mars was eradicated by nuclear war. He believes that a couple of intelligent civilizations from ancient history were responsbile for this, and in his published works, argues that the coloration and composition of Martian soil points to a series of “mixed-fission explosions” which lead to nuclear fallout on the planet.
Regardless of what caused Mars’ climate shift, we’ve certainly been left with some fascinating information to consider.
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offer technical training on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. Ever wanted to make your own satellite? Now you can. Building a Cubesat is affordable and you may even qualify for a free ride from NASA. What are CubeSats? A CubeSat is a small satellite in the shape of a 10 centimeter cube and […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offer technical training on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering.
Ever wanted to make your own satellite? Now you can. Building a Cubesat is affordable and you may even qualify for a free ride from NASA.
What are CubeSats?
A CubeSat is a small satellite in the shape of a 10 centimeter cube and weighs just 1 kilogram. That’s about 4 inches and 2 pounds. The design has been simplified so almost anyone can build them and the instructions are available for free online. CubeSats can be combined to make larger satellites in case you need bigger payloads. Deployable solar panels and antennas make Cubesats even more versatile. The cost to build one? Typically less than $50,000.
CubeSats are carried into space on a Poly-PicoSatellite Orbital Deployer or P-POD for short. The standard P-POD holds 3 Cubesats and fits on almost any rocket as a secondary payload. Over 100 Cubesats have been launched into space since they were first introduced by CalPoly and Stanford in 1999. To reduce space debris they are usually placed in low orbits and fall back to earth in a few weeks or months.
Why are they so popular?
Cubesats are popular with schools and governments because they are cheap and relatively easy to build. Because a lot of the hardware has been standardized, you can even buy Cubesat hardware online.
NASA is offering free rides for science missions through their Cubesat Launch Initiative. If you don’t qualify for a free ride, launching a CubeSat is much cheaper than traditional satellites but still costs over $100,000.
They might be small but you can do a lot with them. Including…Taking Pictures from space, Send radio communications, Perform Atmospheric Research, Do Biology Experiments and as a test platform for future technology.
Cubesats have become THE standard microsatellite thanks to their Open Source Hardware design and will become even more popular as we find new uses for them. If launch costs can become more affordable in the next few years…we can see a new era of personal satellites.
Only a few years ago you needed a degree in Engineering or millions of dollars to build a satellite. Now all you need is a credit card and some hard work.
Launching it…is another story.
Would you want your own personal satellite? Let us know in the comments below.
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003. This is the countdown time to the New Horizons Missions closest point of approach to Pluto; The spacecraft is on track […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is proud to have several course authors, instructors and subject-matter experts that led portions of the New Horizons Mission and/or were directly involved in the project, which began in 2003.This is the countdown time to the New Horizons Missions closest point of approach to Pluto; The spacecraft is on track toward an “aim point” approximately 7,750 miles above Pluto’s surface on July 14, but meaningful data is already streaming in to JHU/APL and NASA.http://seeplutonow.com/
On Sunday, June 20, 2015, the “Washington Post” published a front-page and extensive article on the New Horizons Mission to Pluto:
This is the original 2003 press release describing the New Horizons Mission.
Boulder, Colo. – April 9, 2003 – This week NASA authorized the New Horizons Pluto-Kuiper Belt (PKB) mission to go forward with preliminary spacecraft and ground system construction. New Horizons is led by the Southwest Research Institute(r) (SwRI(r)) and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).
Neither Pluto nor Kuiper Belt Objects have ever been explored by spacecraft.
In July 2002, the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey for Planetary Science ranked the reconnaissance of Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt as its highest priority for a new start mission in planetary science, citing the fundamental scientific importance of understanding this region of the solar system.
Read more at
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/News-Article.php?page=040903prATI instructors who helped plan, develop and engineer the New Horizons Mission. These include the following engineers and scientists, with their bios and links to their related ATI courses1. Dr. Alan Stern http://aticourses.com/planetary_science.htm
Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and
author. In 2010, he was elected to be the President and CEO of The Golden Spike Company, a commercial space corporation planning human lunar expeditions. Additionally, since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute, and since 2008 has had his own aerospace consulting practice.
Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator (PI) of NASA’s $720M New Horizon’s Pluto-Kuiper Belt mission, the largest PI-led space mission ever launched by NASA. New Horizons launched in 2006 and is arriving July 14, 2015. Dr. Stern is also the PI of two instruments aboard New Horizons, the Alice UV spectrometer and the Ralph Visible Imager/IR Spectrometer.
2. Eric Hoffmanhttp://www.aticourses.com/effective_design_reviews.htmhttp://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_quality.htmhttp://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm
Eric Hoffman has designed space-borne communications and navigation equipment and performed systems engineering on many APL satellites and communications systems. He has authored over 60 papers and holds 8 patents in these fields. Mr. Hoffman was involved in the proposal (as well as several prior Pluto mission concepts). He chaired the major system level design reviews (and now teaches the course Effective Design Reviews). He was Space Department Chief Engineer during the concept, design, fabrication, and test of New Horizons. His still actively consulting in the field. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and coauthor of the leading textbook Fundamentals of Space Systems
3. Chris DeBoy http://www.aticourses.com/Satellite_Communications_Design_Engineering.htm
Chris DeBoy leads the RF Engineering Group in the Space Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and is a member of APL’s Principal Professional Staff. He has over 20 years of experience in satellite communications, from systems engineering (he is the lead RF communications engineer for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto) to flight hardware design for both Low-Earth orbit and deep-space missions. He holds a BSEE from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Johns Hopkins, and teaches the satellite communications course for the Johns Hopkins University.
4. Dr. Mark E. Pittelkau http://www.aticourses.com/attitude_determination.htm
Dr. Pittelkau was previously with the Applied Physics Laboratory, Orbital Sciences Corporation, CTA Space Systems (now Orbital), and Swales Aerospace. His experience in satellite systems covers all phases of design and operation, including conceptual design, implementation, and testing of attitude control systems, attitude and orbit determination, and attitude sensor alignment and calibration, control-structure interaction analysis, stability and jitter analysis, and post-launch support. His current interests are precision attitude determination, attitude sensor calibration, orbit determination, and optimization of attitude maneuvers. Dr. Pittelkau earned the B.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and the M.S. degree in EE from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
5. Douglas Mehoke http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_thermal_control.htm
Douglas Mehoke is the Assistant Group Supervisor and Technology Manager for the Mechanical System Group in the Space Department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He has worked in the field of spacecraft and instrument thermal design for 30 years, and has a wide background in the fields of heat transfer and fluid mechanics. He has been the lead thermal engineer on a variety spacecraft and scientific instruments, including MSX, CONTOUR, and New Horizons. He is presently the Technical Lead for the development of the Solar Probe Plus Thermal Protection System. He was the original thermal engineer for New Horizons, the mechanical system engineer, and is currently the spacecraft damage lead for the flyby Hazard Team
6. Steven Gemeny http://www.aticourses.com/ground_systems_design.htm
Steve Gemeny is a Principal Program Engineer and a former Senior Member of the Professional Staff at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he served as Ground Station Lead for the TIMED mission to explore Earth’s atmosphere and Lead Ground System Engineer on the New Horizons mission to explore Pluto by 2020. Mr. Gemeny is an experienced professional in the field of Ground Station and Ground System design in both the commercial world and on NASA Science missions with a wealth of practical knowledge spanning nearly three decades. Mr. Gemeny delivers his experiences and knowledge to his ATIcourses’ students with an informative and entertaining presentation style. Mr Gemeny is Director Business Development at Syntonics LLC, working in RF over fiber product enhancement, new application development for RF over fiber technology, oversight of advanced DOD SBIR/STTR research and development activities related to wireless sensors and software defined antennas.
7. John Penn http://www.aticourses.com/fundamentals_of_RF_engineering.html
John Penn is currently the Team Lead for RFIC Design at Army Research Labs. Previously, he was a full time engineer at the Applied Physics Laboratory for 26 years where he contributed to the New Horizons Mission. He joined the Army Research Laboratory in 2008. Since 1989, he has been a part-time professor at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches RF & Microwaves I & II, MMIC Design, and RFIC Design. He received a B.E.E. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1980, an M.S. (EE) from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1982, and a second M.S. (CS) from JHU in 1988.
8. Timothy Cole http://www.aticourses.com/space_based_lasers.htmhttp://www.aticourses.com/Tactical_Intelligence_Surveillance_Reconnaissance_System_Engineering.htmhttp://www.aticourses.com/Wireless_Sensor_Networking.htm
Timothy Cole is a leading authority with 30 years of experience exclusively working in electro-optical systems as a systems and design engineer. While at Applied Physics Laboratory for 21 years, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Laser Radar and was also the initial technical lead for the New Horizons LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument). He has presented technical papers addressing space-based laser altimetry all over the US and Europe. His industry experience has been focused on the systems engineering and analysis associated development of optical detectors, wireless ad hoc remote sensing, exoatmospheric sensor design and now leads ICESat-2 ATLAS altimeter calibration effort.
9. Robert Moore http://www.aticourses.com/satellite_rf_communications.htm
Robert C. Moore worked in the Electronic Systems Group at the JHU/APL Space Department since 1965 and is now a consultant. He designed embedded microprocessor systems for space applications. He led the design and testing efforts for the New Horizons spacecraft autonomy subsystem. Mr. Moore holds four U.S. patents. He teaches for ATIcourses and the command-telemetry-data processing segment of “Space Systems” at the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering.
10. Jay Jenkins http://www.aticourses.com/spacecraft_solar_arrays.htm
Jay Jenkins is a Systems Engineer in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA and an Associate Fellow in the AIAA. His 24-year aerospace career provided many years of experience in design, analysis and test of aerospace power systems, solar arrays, and batteries. His career has afforded him opportunities for hands-on fabrication and testing, concurrent with his design responsibilities. He was recognized as a winner of the ASME International George Westinghouse Silver Medal for his development of the first solar arrays beyond Mars’ orbit and the first solar arrays to orbit the planet Mercury. He was recognized with two Best Paper Awards in the area of Aerospace Power Systems.
For more information on the New Horizons Mission, we encourage you to visit:
http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/Participate/community/Plutopalooza-Toolkit.phpAbout Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses or ATI and ATII)
ATIcourses is a national leader in professional development seminars in the technical areas of space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, engineering, and signal processing. Since 1984, ATIcourses has presented leading-edge technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. ATI’s programs create a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications. ATI offers customized on-site training at your facility anywhere in the United States, as well as internationally, and over 200 annual public courses in dozens of locations. ATI is proud to have world-class experts instructing courses. For more information, call 410-956-8805 or 1-888-501-2100 (toll free), or visit them on the web at www.ATIcourses.com and www.aticourse.com/atii
CONTACT: Jim Jenkins
Phone: 1-888-501-2100 (toll free) or 410-956-8805
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. The news on mysterious US Air Force X-37B space plane would be of interest to our readers. The US Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on May 19, 2015 aboard an Atlas 5 […]
Applied Technology Institute (ATICourses) offers a variety of courses on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering. The news on mysterious US Air Force X-37B space plane would be of interest to our readers.
The US Air Force launched its robotic space plane into orbit for a fourth flight on May 19, 2015 aboard an Atlas 5 rocket, in a mission aimed at testing a new engine to steer satellites, officials said.
The rocket carrying the X-37B successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida and officials said the scheduled return of the unmanned plane had yet to be determined.
The mini-shuttle has been shrouded in secrecy and military officers have refused to discuss its purpose. But defense experts have speculated it might be meant for spying from space, fixing broken satellites or even as a space “bomber.”
Captain Chris Hoyler, a spokesman for the US Air Force, told AFP the latest flight was part of efforts looking at the “technical parameters for an affordable, reusable space vehicle.”
The X-37B will be testing a new orbital “thruster system” — which uses electricity and xenon — that could be employed to maneuver satellites in space, officials said.
Asked if the plane could be used for surveillance, Hoyler declined to comment.
The X-37B payload also includes a NASA experiment, which will study how a range of materials can endure conditions in space. The results could help scientists working on the possible design of future spacecraft.
The last mission for the X-37B in 2014 extended over 674 days but officials never said what the plane was up to.
Recently, NASA along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM is helping to provide scientists with new insights into finding out how Earth works as a system and specific weather patterns including rain and snowfall. Together with these missions, NASA […]
Recently, NASA along with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM is helping to provide scientists with new insights into finding out how Earth works as a system and specific weather patterns including rain and snowfall. Together with these missions, NASA now has 20 ongoing Earth-observing missions. The observations from these missions will be openly available to both scientists and decision makers worldwide.
“The highly accurate measurements from these new missions will help scientists around the world tackle some of the biggest questions about how our planet is changing,” said Peg Luce, deputy director of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These new capabilities will also be put to work to help improve lives here on Earth and support informed decision-making by citizens and communities.”
In January, NASA released the most comprehensive global rain and snowfall product to date from the GPM mission that was comprised of data from a system of 12 international satellites and the Core Observatory. The Core Observatory combines measurements of other satellites, which offers a global picture of rain and snow, called the Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG. On Thursday February 26, 2015, the first global visualization of the initial IMERG data was released.
“The IMERG data gives us an unprecedented view of global precipitation every 30 minutes,” said Gail Skofronick-Jackson, GPM project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Knowing where, when and how much it rains and snows is vital to understanding Earth’s water cycle.”
NASA deployed two Earth-observing instruments to the International Space Station: ISS-RapidScat, in September of 2014 which is a scatterometer that is using wind measurements to help figure out how ocean winds differ from day and night, and the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), in January of 2015 which is a lidar that measures the altitude of clouds and airborne particles (aerosols) which will help scientists determine the future potential impact of climate change.
The launch of the GPM core observatory will help scientists to study Earth’s interconnected natural systems and better understand how our planet is changing.