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MISSIONS
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IN ORBIT
Planned Missions PLANNED

ICESat-II
The Ice, Cloud,and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) is the 2nd-generation of the laser altimeter ICESat mission. It will measure ice sheet height changes for climate change diagnoses.

 Mission home page
Illustration of GPM GLOBAL PRECIPITATION MEASUREMENT
Scheduled for launch in 2013, the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission is one of the next generation of satellite-based Earth science missions that will study global precipitation (rain, snow, ice).

 Mission home page
The ORBITING CARBON OBSERVATORY mission. OCO-2
After the launch failure of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) on February 2009, NASA was ordered to rebuild the original instrument and fly the follow-on mission as OCO-2. The mission will use spectroscopy to measure the amount of carbon dioxide—one of the most important greenhouse gases—in the Earth’s atmosphere. By looking for the radiation “fingerprint” of carbon dioxide, scientists will be able to use OCO-2 to study the global distribution of carbon dioxide and its rate of increase in the atmosphere. The launch date for OCO-2 is TBD.

 Mission home page
SMAP artist concept SMAP
Soil Moisture Active & Passive (SMAP) will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. These measurements will be used to enhance understanding of processes that link the water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models. SMAP data will also be used to quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes and to develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities.

 Mission home page

The National Research Council completed its first decadal survey for Earth science in January 2007. The survey identified 15 new space missions for NASA (including one joint mission with NOAA) that could renew U.S. investment in Earth-observing systems and restore its leadership in Earth science and applications. The list below includes some of these missions.

CLARREO
Will measure solar radiation, spectrally resolved forcing and response of the climate system.

 Mission home page
DESDynI
Will measure surface and ice sheet deformation for understanding natural hazards and climate; vegetation structure for ecosystem health.

 Mission home page
HyspIRI
Will monitor land surface composition for agriculture and mineral characterization and vegetation types for ecosystem health.

 Mission home page
ASCENDS
Will measure the number density of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the column of air beneath the aircraft. Will also measure ambient air pressure and temperature.

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SWOT
Will track ocean, lake, and river water levels for ocean and inland water dynamics.

 Mission home page
GEO-CAPE
Will monitor atmospheric gas columns for air-quality forecasts and ocean color for coastal ecosystem health and climate emissions.

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ACE
Using lidar, ACE will create aerosol and cloud profiles for climate and water cycles.

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LIST
Will measure land surface topography to look for landslide hazards and water runoff.

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PATH
Will perform high frequency, all-weather temperature and humidity soundings for weather forecasting and sea surface temperature.

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GRACE-II
Will measure Earth's gravity field in order to track large-scale water movement.

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SCLP
Will measure snow accumulation for fresh water availability.

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GACM
Will monitor ozone and related gases for intercontinental air quality and stratospheric ozone layer prediction.

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