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You will be directed to the NASA Visible Earth webpage when you select Images by Mission below, or click on the images at right that are randomly generated to represent four out of all possible topics.

Featured Content

Understanding Earth: What's Up with Precipitation?

Precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls quickly from a cloud. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, grapple (soft hail or snow pellets), and hail. Today, scientists can measure precipitation directly—using ground-based instruments such as rain gauges—or indirectly—using remote sensing techniques (e.g., from radar systems, aircraft, and Earth-observing satellites). This brochure describes how satellite observations—often combined with other measurements taken on the ground or from aircraft—provide frequent estimates of precipitation at a global scale. Among other uses, precipitation datasets from NASA are used for forecasting tropical cyclones; monitoring soil moisture conditions and freshwater availability; and predicting flood and drought conditions, landslides, crop yields, and water-related illnesses.

The Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change: 25 Years Old and Going Strong

The Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) has been a significant contributor of in situ and ground-based observations of the upper troposphere and stratosphere for the past quarter-century. It is an international research and measurement program composed of more than 70 high-quality, remote-sensing research stations. The discovery of the Antarctic “ozone hole” in 1985 provided the impetus for the development of the observational network. To learn more about NDACC’s history, its current configuration, some of the key results it has achieved, and plans for the future please see the feature article on page 4 of the September-October issue of The Earth Observer

CloudSat and CALIPSO Celebrate Ten Years of Observing Clouds and Aerosols

In the July-August issue of The Earth Observer, we focus particular attention on two A-Train missions: CloudSat and CALIPSO. Both missions celebrated the tenth anniversary of their co-manifested launch on April 28. Like many of NASA’s Earth-observing satellites, CloudSat and CALIPSO have long exceeded their prime mission lifetimes and are in extended operations. While they have each had to overcome technical challenges over the past ten years, both missions continue to collect unique scientific data that improve our understanding of the roles clouds and aerosols play in Earth’s climate and weather. 

LIS on ISS: Expanded Global Coverage and Enhanced Applications

Lightning is intimately tied to thunderstorm microphysics and dynamics and it can be used to remotely probe the developmental state, severity, and evolution of thunderstorms and thunderstorm complexes, and can also serve as a valuable indicator for monitoring long-term climate change. To support these useful measurements, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and other science, academic, and commercial partners pioneered the observing technology that has made global-scale lightning detection from space a reality. On page 4 of the May-June issue of The Earth Observer, we provide an overview of NASA’s LIS mission.

A-Train Symposium, April 18-21, 2017

Registration is now open for the 3rd International A-Train Symposium, to be held in Pasadena, California, April 18-21, 2017. For over a decade, the A-Train Constellation has successfully collected a uniquely comprehensive environmental dataset. The symposium will be an opportunity to learn and exchange information about A-Train scientific breakthroughs and to highlight how Earth science has benefitted from the long, continuous, multi-sensor dataset. Please visit for more information.

NASA Science Program Support Office 2016 Annual Report

The Science Program Support Office (SPSO) supported 25 domestic and international science conferences and public events in FY2016. The SPSO strives to provide an inspiring and interactive venue for every event during the year, using a unique storytelling approach that allows a variety of audiences worldwide to connect with NASA Science. The 2016 Annual Report provides a broad overview of these activities, along with details about new Hyperwall stories, publications, social media, key partnerships, and more!

Orchestrating NASA’s Fleet of Earth Observing Satellites

NASA’s current satellite fleet includes 20 Earth-observing missions. While each satellite performs independent mission work, some augment their science capabilities by flying in close, coordinated proximity to one another as part of a constellation—e.g., the Afternoon Constellation, or “A-Train.” Maintaining the orbits of each of these missions and keeping them all safely operating presents daily challenges. On page 4 of the March-April issue of The Earth Observer, we provide an overview of NASA’s Earth Science Mission Operations (ESMO) Project.

Learn about NASA's CYGNSS Mission!

This brochure provides an overview of NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission--NASA’s first satellite mission to measure surface winds in the inner core of tropical cyclones, including regions beneath the eyewall and intense inner rainbands that could not previously be measured from space. These measurements will help scientists obtain a better understanding of what causes variations in tropical cyclone intensity, helping to improve our ability to forecast tropical cyclones such as Hurricane Katrina.

Join NASA for Earth Day

Join NASA at Union Station in Washington, DC to celebrate Earth Day, April 21-22, 2016.

EO-1 Celebrates 15 Years

Originally planned as a “one-year mission,” NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of its launch on November 21, 2015. EO-1 was originally a technology testbed satel- lite, built quickly and inexpensively. EO-1 is finally heading for the end of its mission, which is pro- jected for October 2016. While the platform and its instruments are operating well, fuel reserves have been exhausted and the satellite has lost its orbital maintenance ability. The impressive milestone of reaching its 15-year anniversary, coupled with the impending end of the mission, provides an excellent time to review EO-1’s origins and goals, its expanded mission, and the utility of the data acquired so far.