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NASA picks SpaceX to Launch Surface Water and Ocean Topography Satellite

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency’s Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. Launch is targeted for April 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The total cost for NASA to launch SWOT is approximately $112 million, which includes the launch service; spacecraft processing; payload integration; and tracking, data and telemetry support.

Artist's rendering of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports new study sheds light on slowdown of Global Warming

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new multi-institutional study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat.

The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.” Global average surface temperature, measured by satellites and direct observations, is considered a key indicator of climate change.

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

A new multi-institutional study of the latest research into the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature increase seen between 1998 and 2013 concludes it represented a redistribution of heat/energy within the oceans. (Flickr user Brian Richardson, CC by 2.0)

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NASA Survey discovers extensive coastal erosion from Gulf Oil Spill

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Dramatic, widespread shoreline loss is revealed in new NASA/U.S. Geological Survey annual maps of the Louisiana marshlands where the coastline was most heavily coated with oil during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Following the spill, the length of shoreline that receded more than 13 feet (4 meters) a year quadrupled compared to the year before the spill. The land losses occurred mainly in areas where oil had washed ashore during the spill.

2010 photo of a shoreline in Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil weakens and kills vegetation, leading to the loss of roots that help hold soil together. (Bruce A. Davis, Department of Homeland Security)

2010 photo of a shoreline in Bay Jimmy, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Oil weakens and kills vegetation, leading to the loss of roots that help hold soil together. (Bruce A. Davis, Department of Homeland Security)

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NASA’s first GRACE Satellite finishes Construction, Launch set for December

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Construction is now complete on the first of the two satellites for NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, planned for launch in the December 2017/January 2018 timeframe.

The satellite, built by Airbus Defence and Space at its manufacturing facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany, will spend the next several months undergoing testing at the IABG test center in Ottobrunn, near Munich. The second GRACE-FO satellite will be ready for testing in the near future.

Artist's rendering of the twin satellites that will compose NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of the twin satellites that will compose NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites to help with hurricane forecasts

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is set to launch its first Earth science small satellite constellation, which will help improve hurricane intensity, track and storm surge forecasts, on December 12th from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) hurricane mission will measure previously unknown details crucial to accurately understanding the formation and intensity of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Derek Posselt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the deputy principal investigator.

Artist's concept of one of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites deployed in space above a hurricane. (NASA)

Artist’s concept of one of the eight Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System satellites deployed in space above a hurricane. (NASA)

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NASA to launch Six Small Satellites in new approach to studying Earth

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Beginning this month, NASA is launching a suite of six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions to demonstrate innovative new approaches for studying our changing planet.

These small satellites range in size from a loaf of bread to a small washing machine and weigh from a few to 400 pounds (180 kilograms). Their small size keeps development and launch costs down as they often hitch a ride to space as a “secondary payload” on another mission’s rocket — providing an economical avenue for testing new technologies and conducting science.

Artist's concept of the TROPICS mission, which will study hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats flying in formation. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

Artist’s concept of the TROPICS mission, which will study hurricanes with a constellation of 12 CubeSats flying in formation. (MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Satellite data used to make Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Maps

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists have produced the first global maps of human emissions of carbon dioxide ever made solely from satellite observations of the greenhouse gas.

The maps, based on data from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite and generated with a new data-processing technique, agree well with inventories of known carbon dioxide emissions.

No satellite before OCO-2 was capable of measuring carbon dioxide in fine enough detail to allow researchers to create maps of human emissions from the satellite data alone. Instead, earlier maps also incorporated estimates from economic data and modeling results.

Human carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and other sources have been mapped from OCO-2's global dataset. Traffic and pollution, Cairo, Egypt. (World Bank/Kim Eun Yeul)

Human carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning and other sources have been mapped from OCO-2’s global dataset. Traffic and pollution, Cairo, Egypt. (World Bank/Kim Eun Yeul)

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NASA reports new study reveals Intense Melting beneath West Antarctic Glaciers

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Two new studies by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), detect the fastest ongoing rates of glacier retreat ever observed in West Antarctica and offer an unprecedented direct view of intense ice melting from the floating undersides of glaciers.

The results highlight how the interaction between ocean conditions and the bedrock beneath a glacier can influence the glacier’s evolution, with implications for understanding future ice loss from Antarctica and global sea level rise.

A view from Operation IceBridge's aircraft of Crosson Ice Shelf, foreground. Mt. Murphy is in the background. (NASA/OIB/Michael Studinger)

A view from Operation IceBridge’s aircraft of Crosson Ice Shelf, foreground. Mt. Murphy is in the background. (NASA/OIB/Michael Studinger)

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NASA identifies alternate way to collect data from Aura spacecraft’s TES instrument

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission managers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are evaluating an alternate way to collect and process science data from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument on NASA’s Aura spacecraft following the age-related failure of a critical instrument component.

TES is an infrared sensor designed to study Earth’s troposphere, the lowermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which is where we live. Launched in July 2004 and designed to fly for two years, the TES mission is currently in an extended operations phase.

NASA's Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument, one of four instruments on NASA's Aura spacecraft. (Northrop Grumman)

NASA’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument, one of four instruments on NASA’s Aura spacecraft. (Northrop Grumman)

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NASA Satellites and Airborne Instruments examine Hurricane Matthew

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Hurricane forecasters use many different types of data to forecast a storm’s intensity and track. NASA satellites and airborne instruments, including several developed and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, contribute to scientists’ understanding of tropical cyclones and help improve forecasts.

Here are some of the latest data on Hurricane Matthew from JPL-developed satellites and instruments:

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

JPL’s HAMSR instrument flew above Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 7 aboard a NASA Global Hawk aircraft. Right: atmospheric temperatures overlaid atop ground-based radar and satellite visible images. Reds are areas without clouds; blues show ice and heavy precipitation. Upper left: Global Hawk visible image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech HAMSR team/NOAA SHOUT Team/NASA Global Hawk Team)

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