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Proceedings Paper

NASA's Earth science missions overview
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Paper Abstract

Earth is a complex and dynamic system we do not yet fully understand. The Earth system, like the human body, is comprised of diverse components that interact in complex ways. We need to understand the Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system. Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of NASA's Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth's system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards. NASA's role is unique and highly complements those of other U.S. Federal agencies (such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)) by continually advancing Earth system science from space, creating new remote sensing capabilities, and enhancing the operational capabilities of other agencies and collaborating with them to advance national Earth science goals. International collaborations are also a feature of many of these NASA Earth science activities. Continuous global observations of variability and change are required to reveal natural variability and the forces involved, the nature of the underlying processes and how these are coupled within the Earth system. NASA's Earth Science Division (ESD) provides these observations through its orbital and suborbital flight programs. Currently, NASA has 15 operating Earth science space missions with 6 more in development and 9 under study. In the next decade, ESD will develop and demonstrate new sensors and interacting constellations of satellites to address critical science questions and enable advances in operational capabilities in response to the National Research Council's Decadal Survey of Earth Science and Applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 September 2009
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7474, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIII, 74740B (23 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.834140
Show Author Affiliations
Steven P. Neeck, NASA Headquarters (United States)
Stephen M. Volz, NASA Headquarters (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7474:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XIII
Roland Meynart; Steven P. Neeck; Haruhisa Shimoda, Editor(s)

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