10 Years of Aqua Satellite’s Incredible Images of Earth From Space
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.
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