Pasadena, CA – When a satellite by the name of Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich launches this November, its primary focus will be to monitor sea level rise with extreme precision. But an instrument aboard the spacecraft will also provide atmospheric data that will improve weather forecasts, track hurricanes, and bolster climate models.
“Our fundamental goal with Sentinel-6 is to measure the oceans, but the more value we can add, the better,” said Josh Willis, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “It’s not every day that we get to launch a satellite, so collecting more useful data about our oceans and atmosphere is a bonus.”
Pasadena, CA – NASA says that once the state-of-the-art Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launches in November, it will collect the most accurate data yet on sea level – a key indicator of how Earth’s warming climate is affecting the oceans, weather and coastlines.
But first, engineers need to ensure that the spacecraft can survive the rigors of launch and of operating in the harsh environment of space. That’s where meticulous testing comes in.
At the end of May, engineers finished putting the spacecraft – which is being built in Germany – through a battery of tests that began in November 2019.
Mountain View, CA – NASA says that whenever you look through a substance, whether it’s the water in a pool or a pane of old, rippled glass, the objects you see look distorted.
For centuries, astronomers have been mapping the sky through the distortions caused by our atmosphere, however, in recent years, they’ve developed techniques to counter these effects, clearing our view of the stars.
If we turn to look at the Earth instead of the skies, distorted visuals are a challenge too: Earth scientists who want to map the oceans or study underwater features struggle to see through the distortions caused by waves at the surface.
Pasadena, CA – Where did life first form on Earth? Some scientists think it could have been around hydrothermal vents that may have existed at the bottom of the ocean 4.5 billion years ago.
In a new paper in the journal Astrobiology, NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory describe how they mimicked possible ancient undersea environments with a complex experimental setup.
They showed that under extreme pressure, fluid from these ancient seafloor cracks mixed with ocean water could have reacted with minerals from the hydrothermal vents to produce organic molecules – the building blocks that compose nearly all life on Earth.
Washington, D.C. – NASA says that every night, under the cover of darkness, countless small sea creatures – from squid to krill – swim from the ocean depths to near the surface to feed. This vast animal migration – the largest on the planet and a critical part of Earth’s climate system – has been observed globally for the first time thanks to an unexpected use of a space-based laser.
Researchers observed this vertical migration pattern using the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) satellite — a joint venture between NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales — that launched in 2006. They published their findings in the journal Nature Wednesday.
Pasadena, CA – NASA says the Earth’s climate is changing, and the study of oceans is vital to understanding the effects of those changes on our future. For the first time, U.S and European agencies are preparing to launch a 10-year satellite mission to continue to study the clearest sign of global warming – rising sea levels.
The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission (short for Jason-Continuity of Service), will be the longest-running mission dedicated to answering the question: How much will Earth’s oceans rise by 2030?
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – Scientists have reproduced in the lab how the ingredients for life could have formed deep in the ocean 4 billion years ago. The results of the new study offer clues to how life started on Earth and where else in the cosmos we might find it.
Astrobiologist Laurie Barge and her team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are working to recognize life on other planets by studying the origins of life here on Earth. Their research focuses on how the building blocks of life form in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA – A new NASA study shows that warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.
The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, combed through 15 years of data acquired by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument over the tropical oceans to determine the relationship between the average sea surface temperature and the onset of severe storms.
Written by Bill Steigerwald / Nancy Jones
Greenbelt, MD – Heat generated by the gravitational pull of moons formed from massive collisions could extend the lifetimes of liquid water oceans beneath the surface of large icy worlds in our outer solar system, according to new NASA research.
This greatly expands the number of locations where extraterrestrial life might be found, since liquid water is necessary to support known forms of life and astronomers estimate there are dozens of these worlds.
“These objects need to be considered as potential reservoirs of water and life,” said Prabal Saxena of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, lead author of the research published in Icarus November 24th.
Written by Eric Gillard
Hampton, VA – The Earth and its interconnected systems have always been a fascination for Norman Loeb.
“It’s quite an interesting thing when you think about how energy is distributed and exchanged in various forms amongst Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, land and snow surfaces,” he said.
As the principal investigator of NASA’s Radiaton Budget Science Project, Loeb oversees a series of space-borne instruments that measure reflected sunlight and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth. It gives him a chance to satisfy his curiosity about our home planet from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
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