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NASA Holds Discussions about the Future of the EOS Flagship Missions

Over the past two decades, the Earth Observing System (EOS) Flagship missions—which includes Terra, Aqua, and Aura—provided continuous global observations that have produced a wealth of information on a comprehensive range of Earth system science geophysical parameters. The meeting summary on page 13 of the Jan–Feb 2023 issue of The Earth Observer provides an overview of two recent virtual meetings that took place to discuss the science and application benefits of continued EOS Flagship observations and the recent Terra orbit lowering maneuver. The first was the virtual Terra, Aqua, and Aura Drifting Orbits Workshop, held November 1–2, 2022, the second was the Terra Lower Orbit Virtual Community Forum webinar, held on December 8, 2022.

NASA Participates in Pecora 22 Symposium and Celebrates Landsat 50th Anniversary

NASA celebrated 50 years of the NASA–United States Geological Survey (USGS) Landsat program by participating in the 2022 Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium (Pecora 22 Conference), held October 23–28, 2022, at the Hilton Denver City Center Hotel in Denver, CO. Pecora 22 is the latest in a series of symposia named after William T. Pecora, the USGS Director who helped initiate the Landsat program in the 1960s. To read about how NASA supported this event, turn to page 4 of the Nov-Dec 2022 issue of The Earth Observer.

Subscribe Today! The Earth Observer is Going Green

Beginning with the January–February 2023 issue, The Earth Observer will be published exclusively online. To receive notification when new issues are published online your email address must be registered on our subscription list. Click here to Subscribe or turn to page 43 of the September-October issue to learn more, so you can stay connected to The Earth Observer beginning with Volume 35. Discontinuing The Earth Observer as a print publication after almost 34 years was a difficult decision to make. However, we believe it is the best choice at this time to position the publication and its staff to thrive in a future where communication is increasingly digital.

The Earth Observer Features SCOAPE and TEMPO

The first fully integrated powered testing of the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument on Intelsat IS40e at Maxar Technologies’ manufacturing facility has been completed. TEMPO is currently targeted to launch in January 2023 into geostationary orbit, where it will have a continuous view stretching from Puerto Rico and Mexico to northern Canada—and including the entire continental U.S. To learn more about TEMPO and the three-member, “virtual” Air Quality Constellation of which it will be a part, see the News story on page 34 of the July-August 2022 issue of The Earth Observer. Continuing with the air quality theme, this issue’s feature article summarizes an interagency partnership between NASA and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to monitor and quantify air pollution produced by oil and natural gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Aqua Turns 20

On May 4, 2002, at 2:55 AM Pacific Time, a rocket carrying NASA’s Aqua satellite—the second flagship satellite of the agency’s Earth Observing System (EOS) launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base, located in California. Since then, Aqua has orbited the Earth more than 100,000 times, and produced one of the longest near-continuous records of Earth observation data ever assembled. Its momentous Earth observation voyage has continued for more than two decades—far beyond anyone’s expectations.

NASA Earth Science Data: A Valuable New Commodity for America’s Farmers

NASA recently participated in the Commodity Classic event in New Orleans, LA. This was NASA’s first time participating in this event, which is one of the largest agricultural trade shows in the U.S.—“created for farmers, by farmers.” NASA had a large presence in the exhibit hall and also offered a virtual participation option. NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson and Brad Doorn [NASA Headquarters (HQ)—Director of NASA’s Water Resources and Agricultural Program] both recorded welcoming remarks for the event. Karen St. Germain [NASA HQ—Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division] attended the event and spoke at the NASA Hyperwall in the exhibit area. Turn to page 4 of the March-April issue of The Earth Observer to read a summary of NASA’s participation in the hybrid Commodity Classic event.

CYGNSS: Five Years and Counting

The CYGNSS mission celebrated the fifth anniversary in orbit on December 15, 2021. The longevity of the mission—which was designed to last 24 months—has allowed for a major expansion of the scientific scope of the mission beyond its original focus on the measurement of hurricane winds. New areas of investigation include tropical and extratropical convective systems over ocean, soil moisture and freeze/ thaw state over land, and the mapping of inland water bodies in dynamic seasonal wetlands and due to flood inundation. Turn to page 5 of the Jan-Feb issue of The Earth Observer to learn more about the scientific and engineering achievements of this remarkable constellation of eight microsatellites after five years in orbit.

The Earth Observer Features IMPACT and COP26

The Nov-Dec 2021 issue of The Earth Observer features an article that describes NASA’s Interagency Implementation and Advanced Concepts Team (IMPACT), which seeks to prototype concepts for optimizing the use of Earth science data. This is an interdisciplinary team within NASA’s Earth Science Data Systems division that will work to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of Earth science data management and stewardship. Turn to page 4 to learn more about IMPACT. Turn to page 10 of this issue to read about NASA’s involvement in the COP26 meeting held in Glasgow, Scotland. NASA participated in the U.S. Center (organized by the U.S. Department of State), where the NASA scientists used the Hyperwall to share the science.

Open-Source Science: The NASA Earth Science Perspective

An important role that NASA undertakes is to provide data to foster scientific research. For NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program, this means anywhere in the world is allowed access to more than 57 petabytes (PB) of NASA Earth observing data—along with all documentation, code, algorithm theoretical basis documents (ATBDs), and other ancillary materials. The feature article in September-October issue of The Earth Observer newsletter describes an evolving NASA paradigm called open-source science, which is taking previous open science efforts to the next level and making research conducted using NASA data—and scientific research in general—more inclusive, collaborative, diverse, and equitable.

The Legacy Continues: Landsat 9 Moves Landsat Toward a Golden Milestone

The July-August 2021 issue of The Earth Observer features an article on Landsat 9, which is scheduled to launch on September 16, 2021, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket. The spacecraft will be inserted into a 705 km near-polar orbit where it will join the Landsat 8 satellite, essentially taking over the position Landsat 7 now occupies in the Morning Constellation. The launch of Landsat 9 will add a new and exciting chapter to the nearly 50-year story of Landsat observations.