On Monday, November 4, Doug woke early and headed to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, for the EarthNow NASA Social. The day was devoted to showing how JPL helps us understand the Earth and our climate and to take a sneak peek at several upcoming missions, including SMAP, RapidScat, and OCO.
NASA adores acronyms, and we enjoy learning the lingo. SMAP means Soil Moisture Active Passive. What does that mean? “The accuracy, resolution, and global coverage of SMAP soil moisture and freeze/thaw measurements are invaluable across many science and applications disciplines including hydrology, climate, carbon cycle, and the meteorological, environmental and ecology applications communities.”
RapidScat is an instrument that will go to the International Space Station in the spring “to measure ocean surface wind speed and direction and help improve weather forecasts, including hurricane monitoring.”
OCO-2 is “NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space.”
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of NASA’s earth sciences plans, here’s a photo album of some of the things Doug saw at JPL.
That’s right, Doug saw SMAP up close, and a year from now, it will be on its three-year mission to study moisture by looking down from space at Earth.