Earth Science Missions

  • AQUA
    Latin for Water

    Collecting data about our Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice.

  • Aura
    Latin for Breeze

    Obtains measurements of ozone, aerosols and key gases throughout the atmosphere using technologically innovative space instrumentation.  Scientists use the data to gain revolutionary insights into the chemistry of our atmosphere.

  • COBE
    Cosmic Background Explorer

    Took precise measurements of the diffuse radiation between 1 micrometer and 1 centimeter over the whole celestial sphere.

    Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate

    To develop innovative observational techniques that use signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), and to support the application of these techniques in research and operations for the broader Earth Science.

    Deep Space Climate Observatory

    Observing and providing advance warning of particles and magnetic fields emitted by the sun which can affect power grids, communication systems, and satellites close to Earth.  It will also observe our planet and provide measurements of the radiation reflected and emitted by Earth.

  • EO-1
    Earth Observing Mission

    An advanced land-imaging mission that will demonstrate new instruments and spacecraft systems. It will validate technologies and contribute to the significant reduction in cost of follow-on Landsat missions.

  • GOES-13 -15
    Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

    Provide the familiar weather images we see on US Television everyday.  They provide nearly continuous imaging and sounding which allow forecasters to better measure changes in atmospheric temperature and moisture distributions and hence increase the accuracy of forecasts.

    GOES-13 -15
  • GOES-R
    Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite

    The satellites will provide advanced imaging with increased spatial resolution and faster coverage for more accurate forecasts, real-time mapping of lighning activity, and improved monitoring of solar activity.

  • GPM
    Global Precipitation Measurement

    An International satellite mission to provide next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours.

  • ICESat-2
    Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite

    Deploying a spacebourne sensor to collect altimetry data of the Earth's surface optimized to measure ice sheet elevation change and sea ice thickness, while also generating an estimate of global vegetation biomass.

  • Jason-3
    Ocean Surface Topography from Space

    The radio altimeter will measure sea-level variations over the global ocean with a very high accuracy.  It provides continual, long-term, reliable data.

  • JPSS-1
    Joint Polar Satellite System

    Gathering global measurements of atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic conditions, including sea and land surface temperatures, vegetation, clouds, rainfall, snow and ice cover, fire locations, and smoke plumes, atmospheric temperature, water vapor and ozone.

  • Landsat-7
    Landsat Data Continuity Mission

    Observing and measuring Earth's continental and coastal landscapes at a scale where human impacts and natural changes can be monitored, differentiated, and characterized over time.

  • Landsat-8
    Landsat Data Continuity Mission

    Observing and measuring Earth's continental and coastal landscapes at a scale where human impacts and natural changes can be monitored, differentiated, and characterized over time.

  • MetOp
    Meteorological Operational Satellite Program

    A series of satellites dedicated to near-real-time operational meteorology observations.

  • OCO-2
    Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2

    Watching the Earth breathe from space, measuring carbon dioxide from space.

  • QuikSCAT
    Spacecraft carrying SeaWinds instrument

    Specialized microwave radar that measured near-surface wind speed and direction under all weather and cloud conditions over Earth's oceans.

  • SciSat-1
    Spacecraft carrying ACE, Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment

    To measure the chemical process that affects our protective ozone layer, contributing to our understanding of ozone depletion.

  • SMAP
    Soil Moisture Active Passive

    Orbiting observatory that measures the amount of water in the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil everywhere on the Earth's surface.

    Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment

    Researchers will be able to follow how the sun affects our climate now and in the future.

  • Suomi NPP
    National Polar-orbiting Partnership

    Providing atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity sounding, land and ocean biological productivity, and cloud and aerosol properties. 

    Suomi NPP
  • Terra
    Collecting data about Earth's changing climate

    Carrying five state-of-the-art sensors that have been studying the interactions among the Earth's atmosphere, lands, and radiant energy.