The world has changed since the launch of NASA's Terra satellite. The surface temperatures have gone up a bit. The sea levels have gone up. Plants have expanded across a large area. Terra, which was launched in 2002, and Aqua, which was launched in 2004, were the most important of the three satellites.
The three satellites are close to their end. They need to save their remaining fuel to dodge space junk and then dive into Earth's atmosphere. They are able to swoop past lower latitudes at exactly the same time every day because of the precise pole crossing. In the next month, NASA is expected to decide whether to end the missions, which cost $85 million a year to run, and invest that money in its next- generation Earth System Observatory satellite program, which will replace some of the trio's capabilities by the late 2020s
It would be a mistake to kill them off now. The satellites are healthy enough to last until the middle of this decade, and they provide the most accurate data of any other satellite. They will be able to see Earth from new vantage points at other times of the day. The principal investigator of the instrument on Terra and Aqua that measures Earth's energy imbalance says the missions are almost like new ones.
NASA is concerned about the cost Delays in the Earth System Observatory would be required if the missions are extended. The scientists are trying to get NASA to allow them to make their case at a senior review next year.
The Terra and Aqua were conceived in the 1980s and were each equipped with an array of instruments. The Aqua is one of the instruments that captures temperature, water Vapor, and dozens of other variables. Aura is studying atmospheric chemistry. The instruments were mounted on the same craft, so they were able to see trends that would not have been visible. A former NASA chief scientist said that these will be sorely missed observations.
Prior to Aqua, clouds were thought to cover half the planet at any one time, but now it is known to be 70%. Plants cover 5% more of the planet than they did 20 years ago thanks to rising carbon dioxide levels and warming. The intrusion of water into the stratosphere from volcanic eruptions can add to global warming and damage the ozone layer. The deficit of energy escaping Earth has doubled due to rising greenhouse gases and a decline in Sun-reflecting pollution hazes. The only ones in the world doing this are us. "We're it!"
A chief climate scientist at a large Washington, D.C.-based technology company says that the new polar-orbiting weather satellites from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have two-thirds as many channels as the previous ones. He says that you can trade a Swiss Army knife with 36 features down to 22. Climate science is not prioritized by the instruments of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Joo Teixeira is an atmospheric scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the principal investigator of Aqua'sIR sounder.
The overlap of observations that will begin in early 2024 on the International Space Station will be ensured by keeping the satellites alive. A new instrument on the station will measure Earth's reflected light ten times more precisely than previous instruments. The long-term trends in Earth's energy balance will be easier to identify if the measurement of the two dwarf planets are adjusted. If we see a trend, we will have a long enough record to start believing in it.
If the Aqua mission is continued, it will drift out of its current position, which crosses the equator more than a dozen times daily. Terra will drift from 10:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and Aura will drift from 1:45 p.m.
Critical new investigations will be enabled by the time change. Satellites can reveal the 3D structure of surface features or clouds by observing in the morning or afternoon. The exchange of heat with the atmosphere of previously unobserved times will be revealed when crossing the Arctic Ocean. Aqua will be prepared to investigate the storms and fires that occur late in the day. Romn says that the new fire satellite will be maintained. They will make a lot of money for their buck.
They have secured their legacy even if NASA ends the missions. Three sets of satellites lasting 6 years were supposed to capture 18 years of change. The wish was fulfilled when only one set was launched. "We have it." The data we wanted to get was obtained.