Research and Application News
NASA sees Earth from orbit: 2013
21 April 2014
A fleet of orbiting satellites monitors Earth constantly. The satellites from NASA and other space agencies give us a fresh, wide perspective on things that we can see from the ground - and things that we can't.
A look back at Earth in 2013 from the viewpoint of orbit reveals the kind of data gathering and technical achievement that are the reason NASA puts Earth-observing satellites in space. A visualisation of satellite and computer model data shows how a cloud of dust from the Chelyabinsk meteor moved around the world. NASA satellites measured the intensity of wildfires, the salinity of the oceans and rainfall around the globe - whether it was too little or too much.
Satellites also helped bring us discovery - like the "mega-canyon," longer than the Grand Canyon, found under a mile of Greenland ice. Meanwhile, far from the world's ice sheets, scientists used a new technique to measure the fluorescence of plants. The visualised result shows a glowing world that is both awe-inspiring and instructive.
Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory - Aorounga crater, as seen by astronauts aboard the ISS