NASA’s Aqua Satellite Celebrates 10th Annivesary

The Aqua satellite mission has proved to be a major component of the Earth Observing System (EOS) for its ability to gather unprecedented amounts of information on Earth’s water cycle, including measurements on water vapor, clouds, precipitation, ice, and snow. Aqua data has helped improve weather prediction, detection of forest fires, volcanic ash, and sandstorms. In addition, Aqua data have been used to detect and monitor such greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane, and to examine the energy imbalance at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere and the various components of it. With these uses of Aqua data, scientists have been able to better understand our Earth over the course of the past ten years.

Aqua is a major international Earth Science satellite mission centered at NASA. Launched on May 4, 2002, the satellite has six different Earth-observing instruments on board and is named for the large amount of information being obtained about water in the Earth system from its stream of approximately 89 Gigabytes of data a day. The water variables being measured include almost all elements of the water cycle and involve water in its liquid, solid, and vapor forms. Additional variables being measured include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures.

For more information about NASA’s Aqua satellite, visit:

Caption: Artist rendition of the NASA’s Aqua satellite, which carries the MODIS and AIRS instruments. Credit: NASA

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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