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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

4. Solar Powers Our Satellites



Among NASA's thousands (maybe millions) of images is Jason-1 the Ocean Satellite cruising around the earth powered by eight solar panels.  Satellites warn of storms, and other weather conditions.



This "NASA/CNES Ocean Satellite" orbited the earth for more than 10 years, and was retired in 2013. According to Alan Buis, Writer for the JET Propulsion Laboratory, "Jason-1 flew in carefully coordinated orbits with both its predecessor Topex/Poseidon and its successor, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2, launched in 2008. These coordinated orbit periods, which lasted about three years each, cross-calibrated the satellites, making possible a 20-plus-year unbroken climate record of sea level change. These coordination periods also doubled data coverage."

Thanks to Jason-1, the first full 406-day marine gravity mission was completed on June 17. The resulting data have already led to the discovery of numerous small seamounts, which are underwater mountains that rise above the deep-sea floor. The data also have significantly increased the resolution of Earth's gravity field over the ocean, while increasing our knowledge of ocean bathymetry, which is the underwater depth of the ocean floor.

Photo by NASA - for more info: Jason-1 Ocean Satellite

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