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Understanding and Protecting Our Home Planet: NASA and Earth Science. Cheryl Yuhas Suborbital Science Program Manager. Earth Science in NASA’s Mission. Understand and Protect Our Home Planet by using our view from space to study the Earth system and improve prediction of Earth system change

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Understanding and Protecting Our Home Planet: NASA and Earth Science

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Understanding and protecting our home planet nasa and earth science l.jpg

Understanding and Protecting Our Home Planet:NASA and Earth Science

Cheryl Yuhas

Suborbital Science Program Manager


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Earth Science in NASA’s Mission

  • Understand and Protect Our Home Planet by using our view from space to study the Earth system and improve prediction of Earth system change

  • Help Explore the Universe and Search for Life by applying our scientific understanding of the Earth system to the identification and study of Earth-like planets around other stars

  • Inspire the Next Generation of Earth Explorers by providing Earth system science content and training to educators, and by sponsoring the education and early careers of Earth scientists


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Overarching Science Questions

  • How is the global Earth system changing?

  • What are the primary forcings of the Earth system?

  • How does the Earth system respond to natural and human-induced changes?

  • What are the consequencesof changes in the Earth system for human civilization?

  • How well can we predict future changes in the Earth system?

How is the Earth changing and what are the consequences of life on Earth?


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Aqua

SORCE

QuikScat

SAGE III

TRMM

SeaWinds

Terra

UARS

Landsat 7

Earth Observation from Space Today

GRACE

We have given the world its first capability to study the Earth as a system

Jason

EO-1

SeaWiFS

ICESat

ACRIMSAT

TOMS-EP

ERBS

TOPEX/Poseidon


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But Much More Remains to Be Done to Achieve a Comprehensive, Coordinated & Sustained Global Observing System

A Comprehensive Global Observing System


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Suborbital Science Programs

To understand and protect our home planet, we need data from multiple perspectives. Suborbital fills time and space gap between surface observing networks and orbital platforms.

  • Objectives

  • Development of new space sensors and new remote-sensing techniques.

  • Satellite calibration/validation.

  • Targeted observations of ephemeral phenomena with variable temporal and spatial scales.

  • Atmosphere/near-space in-situ observations.

  • Improvement and validation of predictive Earth process models using satellite data.

  • Next-generation scientists with hands-on sensor hardware and field experiment experience.

Sounding Rocket Program

Balloon Program

Aircraft & UAV Programs


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  • Higher altitude rockets with high resolution instruments opened the door to a whole new class of auroral physics phenomena.

    • Field Aligned Electron Bursts

    • Ion Conics

    • Lower Hybrid Solitary Structures

    • Large Amplitude Alfvén Waves

    • Intense Langmuir Waves

    • Shock-Like Electric Fields

New Physics

New Capabilities on Sounding Rockets Enabled New Studies of Auroral Physics

  • Early Rocket Observations (1960’s, 70’s)

    Discovered the source of auroral light is due to keV electron beams

    Explored auroral optical emissions, Ionosphere fields, currents, effects, etc.

1500

1000

Altitude (km)

500

Auroral

Optical Emissions

0


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Suborbital Observing Capabilities: Aircraft/UAVs

30

Performance Envelope

ER2

Stratosphere

20

WB57

GH

(ALTAIR)

Pr

(ALTUS II)

ALTAIR

Cirrus

ALTUS-II

Tropical Tropopause

Altitude (km)

(ALTUS I)

L

Convective Detrainment

DC8

ALTUS-I

10

P3

Polar Tropopause

GH = Global Hawk

Pr = Proteus

L = Lear Jet

UAV

Troposphere

Walker Circulation

Planetary Scale

Synoptic Scale

ITCZ Width

Mesoscale

0

Boundary Layer

8000

12000

0

4000

Range (nm)

Newman & Schoeberl, GSFC

Payload is proportional to font size (truncated at 2000 lb. and 600 lb.)

Bold indicates payload greater than 2000 lb.


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NASA Suborbital Science Missions of the Future Workshop: 31 Mission Concepts in 6 Science Focus Areas

Multiple requirements for cloud data

Vertical resolution data through atmosphere & into ocean

Almost universal OTH requirements

Real-time data to the scientist on the ground, at least for QA

Many, many missions with multiple, coordinated platforms

Interesting combinations of mother/daughter platforms, sondes

Intelligent, autonomous tracking of events or phenomena

Synergy with satellite activities.

Interagency Workshop for UAV Collaboration: 11 Proposals to Demonstrate UAV Enhancement of Science Objectives. 3 areas identified as high-value demonstration missions

High Impact Events

Carbon Fluxes

Climate Profiles

Results from Previous Workshops


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Internal Structure of Hurricane Bonnie from NASA research aircraft

Satellites Provide Global Observations - Suborbital Provides Key In-Situ/Local Observations

Hurricane size and landfall observation from GOES

Hurricane winds as an ocean anomaly from QuikSCAT

Combining Global, Regional, and Local Scale Views Improves Understanding of Processes and Variability Trends


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