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The Space Age began with the launch of Russia's Sputnik on October 7, 1957, and America's Explorer 1 on January 31, 1958. Satellite remote sensing started with images of clouds for weather forecasts, but has rapidly advanced to imaging whole continents (Radarsat), and documenting the changes happening at the Poles. One still relatively new satellite, the German-US GRACE mission uses variations in gravity to "weigh" how much ice is being gained or lost in Antarctica and Greenland. You can see amazing images and animations at many NASA websites, but we especially recommend the Science Visualization Studio of NASA'S Goddard Spaceflight Center. Here you can find still images in different sizes and resolutions, and animations at podcast scale or as HDTV downloads. (And yes, POLAR-PALOOZA will be working with NASA to host some of our content, as a kind of video jukebox).

Earth Link1 NASA Satellites Unearth Antarctic 'Plumbing System,' Clues to Leaks: Imagine peering down from aboard an airplane flying at 35,000 feet and spotting changes in the thickness of a paper back book on a picnic blanket in New York City's Central Park. If you believe this impossible, NASA satellites are doing the equivalent of just that.
Earth Link 2 NASA's GRACE Satellite: In 2002 NASA teamed-up with the German Space Agency to launch the dual satellites that make up GRACE. The twin satellites launched in March 2002, are making detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field which will lead to discoveries about gravity and Earth's natural systems.(See also UT Austin's GRACE Page)
Earth Link 3 NASA Watches Arctic Ice: Each year, during the month of September, the amount of sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean is typically at its lowest amount for the entire year. This year, and all the way back to 2002, the amount of sea ice has been 20 percent less than the average amount seen normally between 1979 and 2000.
Earth Link 4 ICESat: The benchmark Earth Observing System mission for measuring ice sheet mass balance, cloud and aerosol heights, as well as land topography and vegetation characteristics. The ICESat mission will provide multi-year elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance as well as stratospheric cloud property information over polar areas.
Earth Link 5 Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA) of Japan. It was designed to monitor and study tropical rainfall and the associated release of energy that helps to power the global atmospheric circulation shaping both weather and climate around the globe.
Earth Link 6 Terra The Terra satellite is the first EOS (Earth Observing System) platform and provides global data on the state of the atmosphere, land, and oceans, as well as their interactions with solar radiation and with one another.
Earth Link 7 ACRIMSAT measures the total energy of the light that comes from the sun.
Earth Link 8 JASON-1 Jason is an oceanography mission to monitor global ocean circulation, improve global climate predictions, and monitor events such as El Nino conditions and ocean eddies.
Earth Link 9 Aqua The Aqua Project is the multi-disciplinary study of the Earth's interrelated processes (atmosphere, oceans, and land surface) and their relationship to Earth system changes.
Earth Link 10 SORCE is a NASA-sponsored project which will provide Total Irradiance measurements and the full Spectral Irradiance measurements required by climate studies. The spectral measurements include ultraviolet, extreme ultraviolet, and the visible to near infrared.
Earth Link 11 CloudSat will fill a significant gap in the existing and planned Earth observation missions by measuring the vertical profile of clouds using active remote sensing.
Earth Link 12 The Ozone Hole For nearly a billion years, ozone molecules in the atmosphere have protected life on Earth from the effects of ultraviolet rays. In the past 60 years or so human activity has contributed to the deterioration of the ozone layer. The Antarctic ozone hole was discovered in 1985 by British scientists of the British Antarctic Survey.
Earth Link 13 Ozone Hole Watch This is the Ozone Hole Watch web site, where you can check on the latest status of the ozone layer over the South Pole. Satellite instruments monitor the ozone layer, and we use their data to create the images that depict the amount of ozone.
Earth Link 14 Why the Ozone Hole? Why did the ozone hole develop over Antarctica, and not over Detroit or some other manufacturing center where chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are released prodigiously? The reasons are explained by Rebecca L. Johnson, who participated in NSF's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program in 1991, 1994, and 1997.


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POLAR-PALOOZA and the materials on this website are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0632262. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE/Geoff Haines-Stiles Productions, Inc., and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
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