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Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

Drought mapping using measurements obtained from weather and research satellites

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction holds a monthly drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America, according to  Don Comis of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists, Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, are hoping that in a year or so, data from their computer model/satellite package will give evapotranspiration (ET) maps a seat at that briefing.


Landsat 5 satellite on the blink, paves way for Landsat 8 scheduled launch 2013

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

According to a press release issued by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) November 18, the Landsat 5 Mission may no longer remain in operation. The reason for this is the USGS has stopped acquiring images from the 27-year-old Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite due to a rapidly degrading electronic component.

A Landsat 5 image of the Wallow Fire acquired on June 15, 2011. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey

A Landsat 5 image of the Wallow Fire acquired on June 15, 2011. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey

When Landsat 5 was launched in 1984 it was designed to last 3 years. The USGS assumed operation of Landsat 5 in 2001 and managed to rescue the aging satellite back from the brink of total failure on several occasions following the malfunction of key subsystems.

“This anticipated decline of Landsat 5 provides confirmation of the importance of the timely launch of the next Landsat mission and the need for an operational and reliable National Land Imaging System,” stated Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior. “The USGS is committed to maintaining the unique long term imaging database that the Landsat program provides.”

The amplifier that is in jeopardy is essential for transmitting land-surface images from the Landsat 5 satellite to ground receiving stations in the U.S. and around the world. In the past 10 days, amplifier problems have significantly diminished the satellite’s ability to down load images.

Now USGS engineers have suspended imaging activities for 90 days so that they can explore possible options for restoring satellite-to-ground image transmissions.

The USGS-operated Landsat 7 is actively in orbit collecting global imagery. Launched in 1999 with a 5-year design life, Landsat 7 has experienced an instrument anomaly which reduces the amount of data collected per image. A new satellite, Landsat 8, currently named the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is now scheduled to be launched in January 2013.

Creation of new iceberg captured by aerial imagery

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

On October 14, 2011, scientists participating in NASA’s IceBridge mission, saw a huge crack in the ice running about 29 kilometers (18 miles) as they flew across Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier in a DC-8 research plane.

“The rift was 80 meters (260 feet) wide on average, and 50 to 60 meters (165 to 195 feet) deep. It marks the moment of creation for a new iceberg that should eventually span about 880 square kilometers (340 square miles) once it breaks loose from the glacier.”

Witness the Birth of an Iceberg
Earth Imaging Journal

Crowdsourcing, or, 200,000 heads are better than one

Monday, October 24th, 2011

A think tank is usually comprised of a group of people hand selected to solve a particular problem or to do research on a problem. We don’t usually open up the think tank to just anyone.

Crowdsourcing opens up a question or inquiry or research to everyone, or perhaps to a select special interest group, those who can offer authoritative data. People are drawn to contribute knowledge – whether it be of the pothole status in a given neighborhood, crime rates, weather patterns, or crisis intervention. This knowledge has very often not had a home in the past because there was nowhere to put it, or it might have to be vetted first (made into authoritative geodata) before being committed to the total database of knowledge on the given subject.


Canceled NASA rocket could take passengers to space

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

The Obama Administration’s effort to offer more affordable space program than the Ares 1 which has been criticized for its magnitude and cost, may result in the reuse of the Ares 1 as a space taxi.

NASA’s so-called commercial crew program is seeking companies to build and operate space taxis to take astronauts to the International Space Station.

How about on-board navigation systems for space taxis? Could that be the next rage?

Canceled NASA Rocket Could Return as Part of Low-Cost Space Taxi The New York Times

Check out new map of moon’s surface

Monday, January 3rd, 2011
A side by side image of the moon’s surface shows the difference between a photo taken in 2005 and one taken in 2010.

The Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter, one of seven scientific instruments onboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, recently completed a project resulting in a new map of the surface of moon with unprecedented detail. Developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and launched in June 2009, the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) uses laser ranging to measure the moon’s surface elevation, slope, and roughness in 3D.

Read more:

NASA’s LOLA maps the moon (photos) Cnet

Eyes in the Sky II seeks high school teachers

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Eyes in the Sky II is a long-term professional development program that prepares high school science teachers to use NASA data and visualizations along with other geospatial information technologies.

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