“The view of Earth from space has transformed our understanding of, as well as our admiration for, the planet. The data and images collected by Earth-observing satellites have been used in thousands of scientific papers, helped us better respond to natural disasters, improved weather and climate forecasts, enlightened us about our impact on Earth and captivated us with beauty.”
“One of the stars of NASA’s fleet of satellites is Aqua. The satellite is named for its ability to measure water vapor in the atmosphere, water in the oceans, as well as ice and snow. When it was launched on May 4, 2002, scientists expected it to work for three to five years. But its six instruments have been functioning perfectly for 10 years, gathering 29 million gigabytes of data in that time.”
“One of the most useful and impressive instruments aboard Aqua is the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, which measures visible and infrared radiation, and produces truly amazing, incredibly beautiful images of Earth. We’ve chosen some of our favorite MODIS images for this gallery in celebration of a decade of work. With funding for Earth-observing satellites on the decline, let’s hope Aqua keeps going for 10 more years.”
- Top: Sediment runoff from heavy rains shows up as lighter streaks and swirls in the water around New Zealand’s Cook Strait. Aqua captured this image on Apr. 29, 2011.
- Top Left: This massive phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Argentinian Patagonia was captured by Aqua on Dec. 21, 2010.
- Top Right: This amazing view of Antarctica in its entirety is a composite image captured by Aqua on Jan. 27, 2009.
- Bottom Left: This image of cloud streets over the Greenland Sea was captured by Aqua on Feb. 24, 2009. Jan Mayen island disrupts the pattern near the center of the image, creating a vortex street.
- Bottom Right: Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano. Aqua captured this image of Etna erupting on Oct. 28, 2002.
- Article Content: Wired.com