4 November 2004 NASA's future Earth observation plans
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Abstract
NASA's Science Mission Directorate, working with its domestic and international partners, provides accurate, objective scientific data and analysis to advance our understanding of Earth system processes. Learning more about these processes will enable improved prediction capability for climate, weather, and natural hazards. Earth interactions occur on a continuum of spatial and temporal scales ranging from short-term weather to long-term climate, and from local and regional to global. Quantitatively describing these changes means precisely measuring from space scores of biological and geophysical parameters globally. New missions that SMD will launch in the coming decade will complement the first series of the Earth Observing System. These next generation systematic measurement missions are being planned to extend or enhance the record of science-quality data necessary for understanding and predicting global change. These missions include the NPOESS Preparatory Project, Ocean Surface Topography Mission, Global Precipitation Measurement, Landsat Data Continuity Mission, and an aerosol polarimetry mission called Glory. New small explorer missions will make first of a kind Earth observations. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory will measure sources and sinks of carbon to help the Nation and the world formulate effective strategies to constrain the amount of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Aquarius will measure ocean surface salinity which is key to ocean circulation in the North Atlantic that produces the current era's mild climate in northern Europe. HYDROS will measure soil moisture globally. Soil moisture is critical to agriculture and to managing fresh water resources. NASA continues to design, develop and launch the Nation's civilian operational environmental satellites, in both polar and geostationary orbits, by agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NASA plans to develop an advanced atmospheric sounder, GIFTS, for geostationary orbit to facilitate continuous measurements of weather-related phenomena, improve "nowcasting" of extreme weather events, and measure important atmospheric gases. NASA is currently developing with its partners the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) and the next-generation geostationary system, GOES-R. Future missions will migrate today's capabilities in low Earth orbit to higher orbits such as L1 and L2 to enable more continuous monitoring of changes in the Earth system with a smaller number of satellites.
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Steven P. Neeck, Steven P. Neeck, Granville E. Paules, Granville E. Paules, J. Douglas McCuistion Ramesh, J. Douglas McCuistion Ramesh, } "NASA's future Earth observation plans", Proc. SPIE 5570, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites VIII, (4 November 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.573033; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.573033
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