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Topic: Satellite

NASA Earth Scientists to study Arctic Sea Ice losses effects on Clouds, Weather, Global Warming

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Climate change is a global phenomenon, yet Earth scientists are keeping a wary eye on one place in particular–the Arctic.

“Polar regions are important for us to study right now,” explains Tom Wagner of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington DC. “They are changing rapidly.”

One of the most visible of signs of warming is the retreat of Arctic sea ice. Every year, sea ice waxes and wanes in a normal response to the changing of seasons; the annual sea ice minimum occurs near the end of northern summer. Since the 1970s, researchers carefully watched to see if the rhythm of Arctic sea ice would respond to global warming.

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NASA Scientists use satellite data to find Methane Hot Spot in United States

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – One small “hot spot” in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States – more than triple the standard ground-based estimate — according to a new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan.

Methane is very efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere and, like carbon dioxide, it contributes to global warming. The hot spot, near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, covers only about 2,500 square miles (6,500 square kilometers), or half the size of Connecticut.

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan)

The Four Corners area (red) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions in this map showing how much emissions varied from average background concentrations from 2003-2009 (dark colors are lower than average; lighter colors are higher). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan)

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NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite to help Farmers manage Drought conditions

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – About 60 percent of California is experiencing “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most dire classification. The agency issued the same warning to Texas and the southeastern United States in 2012. California’s last two winters have been among the driest since records began in 1879. Without enough water in the soil, seeds can’t sprout roots, leaves can’t perform photosynthesis, and agriculture can’t be sustained.

Currently, there is no ground- or satellite-based global network monitoring soil moisture at a local level. Farmers, scientists and resource managers can place sensors in the ground, but these only provide spot measurements and are rare across some critical agricultural areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

For several months, California has been in a state of "exceptional drought." The state's usually verdant Central Valley produces one-sixth of the U.S.'s crops. (White House via Wikimedia Commons)

For several months, California has been in a state of “exceptional drought.” The state’s usually verdant Central Valley produces one-sixth of the U.S.’s crops. (White House via Wikimedia Commons)

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NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 achieves final orbit and begins sending data

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Just over a month after launch, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) — NASA’s first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide — has maneuvered into its final operating orbit and produced its first science data, confirming the health of its science instrument.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is the leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our world.

Artist's rendering of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2, one of five new NASA Earth science missions set to launch in 2014, and one of three managed by JPL. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites data reveals River Areas Flood Potential

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Every year, river flooding takes a heavy toll of lives and property damage in the United States. A new study has found that the potential of a river basin to flood can be assessed months in advance of flood season by using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites. The new finding could eventually lead to longer lead times for flood warnings.

“Case studies of the catastrophic Missouri River floods of 2011 show that flood-potential early warning times could be increased by a couple of seasons using these satellite data,” said co-author Jay Famiglietti.

The flooded confluence of the Nishnabotna and Missouri Rivers in Iowa, June 2011. A study of the 2011 Missouri River Basin floods has shown that NASA satellite data can help predict the potential of a river basin to flood as much as 11 months in advance of flood season. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The flooded confluence of the Nishnabotna and Missouri Rivers in Iowa, June 2011. A study of the 2011 Missouri River Basin floods has shown that NASA satellite data can help predict the potential of a river basin to flood as much as 11 months in advance of flood season. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

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NASA set to launch Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 this morning July 1st, 2014

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California tomorrow, July 1st, at 2:56am PDT (6:56am CDT).

OCO-2 — the first dedicated NASA mission to monitor atmospheric carbon dioxide on global scales — has only a 30-second launch window each day. The launch window is short because the spacecraft needs to be precisely aligned within a series of Earth-observing satellites known as the “A-Train.”

NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 gets ready for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California. The spacecraft is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, which will boost it to an orbit around Earth. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 gets ready for launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California. The spacecraft is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, which will boost it to an orbit around Earth. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA reports on Intense Solar Storm that barely missed Earth

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Last month (April 8th-11th), scientists, government officials, emergency planners and others converged on Boulder, Colorado, for NOAA’s Space Weather Workshop—an annual gathering to discuss the perils and probabilities of solar storms.

The current solar cycle is weaker than usual, so you might expect a correspondingly low-key meeting. On the contrary, the halls and meeting rooms were abuzz with excitement about an intense solar storm that narrowly missed Earth.

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NASA study reveals Warm Ocean Water melting Antarctic Ice Shelf from below

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ocean waters melting the undersides of Antarctic ice shelves are responsible for most of the continent’s ice shelf mass loss, a new study by NASA and university researchers has found.

Scientists have studied the rates of basal melt, or the melting of the ice shelves from underneath, of individual ice shelves, the floating extensions of glaciers that empty into the sea. But this is the first comprehensive survey of all Antarctic ice shelves. The study found basal melt accounted for 55 percent of all Antarctic ice shelf mass loss from 2003 to 2008, an amount much higher than previously thought.

This photo shows the ice front of Venable Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, in October 2008. It is an example of a small-size ice shelf that is a large melt water producer. The image was taken onboard the Chilean Navy P3 aircraft during the NASA/Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Chile campaign of Fall 2008 in Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Irvine)

This photo shows the ice front of Venable Ice Shelf, West Antarctica, in October 2008. It is an example of a small-size ice shelf that is a large melt water producer. The image was taken onboard the Chilean Navy P3 aircraft during the NASA/Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Chile campaign of Fall 2008 in Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UC Irvine)

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NASA reports on the effects of Strong Solar Flares

 

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather — great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun — some people worry that a gigantic “killer solar flare” could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth, but this is not actually possible.

Solar activity is indeed currently ramping up toward what is known as solar maximum, something that occurs approximately every 11 years. However, this same solar cycle has occurred over millennia so anyone over the age of 11 has already lived through such a solar maximum with no harm.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it erupted from the sun early on Nov 4, 2003. This was the most powerful flare measured with modern methods, classified as an X28. (Credit: ESA and NASA/SOHO)

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft captured this image of a solar flare as it erupted from the sun early on Nov 4, 2003. This was the most powerful flare measured with modern methods, classified as an X28.
(Credit: ESA and NASA/SOHO)

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NASA works with Amateur Radio Operators to construct image of Earth using PhoneSat

 

Written by Ruth Dasso Marlaire
NASA Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – For about one week, engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, and amateur radio operators around the world collaborated to reconstruct an image of Earth sent to them from three smartphones in orbit.

The joint effort was part of NASA’s nanosatellite mission, called PhoneSat, which launched on Sunday, April 21st, 2013 aboard the Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

Although the ultimate goal of the PhoneSat mission was to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics for a satellite in space, the three miniature satellites (named Alexander, Graham and Bell) also took pictures of Earth and transmitted these “image-data packets” to multiple ground stations on Earth. Above photo was taken by the PhoneSat-1 (Bell) nanosatellite and reconstructed by the Ames Phonesat Team and multiple amateur radio operators around the world. (Image credit: NASA Ames)

Although the ultimate goal of the PhoneSat mission was to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics for a satellite in space, the three miniature satellites (named Alexander, Graham and Bell) also took pictures of Earth and transmitted these “image-data packets” to multiple ground stations on Earth. Above photo was taken by the PhoneSat-1 (Bell) nanosatellite and reconstructed by the Ames Phonesat Team and multiple amateur radio operators around the world. (Image credit: NASA Ames)

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