Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA experiment celebrates 20 years in orbit

14.10.2004


From volcanic eruptions to ozone holes, a NASA instrument that monitors Earth’s upper atmosphere marks twenty years in orbit.



The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II (SAGE II) instrument was deployed October 5, 1984, from the Space Shuttle Challenger aboard the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS.) Originally scheduled for a two-year mission, SAGE II continues to give scientists a wealth of data on the chemistry and motions of the upper troposphere and stratosphere. "The importance of the SAGE II data is helping to solve some exceedingly important societal issues like ozone depletion and greenhouse warming," said SAGE II principal investigator Dr. M. Patrick McCormick, Co-Director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "SAGE II has been a defining experience for my career and me."

Managed by NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., SAGE II is part of NASA’s Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE.) The series of satellites launched in the mid -1980s were designed to investigate how energy from the Sun is absorbed and re-emitted by the Earth – one of the main processes that drive weather patterns. Observations from the ERB satellite are also used to study the effects on the Earth’s radiation balance from human activities -- burning fossil fuels and the use of chemicals -- and natural occurrences such as volcanic eruptions.


"While SAGE II is probably not the household name that say a Hubble is, it has had an impact on the average person, said Joe Zawodny, SAGE II Science Mission Manager at NASA Langley. "The international ozone assessments have brought the international community to action in a rare and unified way via the Montreal Protocol, and subsequent amendments. One result of this action is the virtual elimination of CFCs (chemicals harmful to ozone) and the subsequent adoption of the new technology in consumer devices such as auto and home air conditioning, refrigeration, and industrial uses."

SAGE II has measured the decline in the amount of stratospheric ozone globally and over the Antarctic since the ozone hole was first described in 1985. "The number one impact SAGE II data have had on the global scientific community is most certainly the 20 years of high quality ozone measurements and the ability to monitor the ozone profile for trends and changes throughout the stratosphere," added Zawodny. "The understanding of the mechanisms behind the Antarctic Ozone Hole was derived partly from SAGE II ozone and polar stratospheric cloud data."

Polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) act as a medium to create ozone-destroying chemicals. And similar to ozone, SAGE II aerosol data have been important for determining the impact of volcanic aerosols on temperatures in the stratosphere and at the Earth’s surface. Three months after the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, scientists found that the stratospheric region at latitudes near Mt. Pinatubo had warmed 2.5-3o Centigrade (4.5- 5.4o Fahrenheit) due to the increased concentrations of aerosols.

SAGE II, built by (then) Ball Aerospace Systems Group, has added 18 years to the original mission life of twenty-four months on ERBS. However, the SAGE II experiment literally had a shaky start. After deployment from the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-41G,) one of the ERBS’ solar arrays – the panels that provide power to the satellite – failed to deploy. Challenger mission specialist, Astronaut Sally Ride, had to shake the satellite with the remote manipulator arm and then finally place the stuck panel into sunlight for the panel to extend. "The public should appreciate the investment they made into a satellite mission that has exceeded all predictions and hopes of a long life," added McCormick. "And for its contributions to making Earth a better place now and for subsequent generations."

SAGE II is part of the Earth science research heritage under the NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Its Sun-Earth Mission is dedicated to understanding the Earth as an integrated system and applying Earth system science to improve the prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards using the unique vantage point of space.

Chris Rink | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Silicon solar cell of ISFH yields 25% efficiency with passivating POLO contacts
08.12.2016 | Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH

nachricht Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer IFAM

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>