dimanche 13 octobre 2019

From cosmic rays to clouds













CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

13 October, 2019

A new run of the CLOUD experiment examines the direct effect of cosmic rays on clouds 


Image above: The CLOUD experiment in the CERN East Hall at the start of the CLOUDy run, on 23 September 2019. The chamber is enclosed inside a thermal housing that precisely controls the temperature between -65 °C and +40 °C. Instruments surrounding the chamber continuously sample and analyse its contents. (Image: CERN).

CERN’s colossal complex of accelerators is in the midst of a two-year shutdown for upgrade work. But that doesn’t mean all experiments at the Laboratory have ceased to operate. The CLOUD experiment, for example, has just started a data run that will last until the end of November.

The CLOUD experiment studies how ions produced by high-energy particles called cosmic rays affect aerosol particles, clouds and the climate. It uses a special cloud chamber and a beam of particles from the Proton Synchrotron to provide an artificial source of cosmic rays. For this run, however, the cosmic rays are instead natural high-energy particles from cosmic objects such as exploding stars.

“Cosmic rays, whether natural or artificial, leave a trail of ions in the chamber,” explains CLOUD spokesperson Jasper Kirkby, “but the Proton Synchrotron provides cosmic rays that can be adjusted over the full range of ionisation rates occurring in the troposphere, which comprises the lowest ten kilometres of the atmosphere. That said, we can also make progress with the steady flux of natural cosmic rays that make it into our chamber, and this is what we’re doing now.”

In its 10 years of operation, CLOUD has made several important discoveries on the vapours that form aerosol particles in the atmosphere and can seed clouds. Although most aerosol particle formation requires sulphuric acid, CLOUD has shown that aerosols can form purely from biogenic vapours emitted by trees, and that their formation rate is enhanced by cosmic rays by up to a factor 100.

Most of CLOUD’s data runs are aerosol runs, in which aerosols form and grow inside the chamber under simulated conditions of sunlight and cosmic-ray ionisation. The run that has just started is of the “CLOUDy” type, which studies the ice- and liquid-cloud-seeding properties of various aerosol species grown in the chamber, and direct effects of cosmic-ray ionisation on clouds.

The present run uses the most comprehensive array of instruments ever assembled for CLOUDy experiments, including several instruments dedicated to measuring the ice- and liquid-cloud-seeding properties of aerosols over the full range of tropospheric temperatures. In addition, the CERN CLOUD team has built a novel generator of electrically charged cloud seeds to investigate the effects of charged aerosols on cloud formation and dynamics.

“Direct effects of cosmic-ray ionisation on the formation of fair-weather clouds are highly speculative and almost completely unexplored experimentally,” says Kirkby. “So this run could be the most boring we’ve ever done – or the most exciting! We won’t know until we try, but by the end of the CLOUD experiment, we want to be able to answer definitively whether cosmic rays affect clouds and the climate, and not leave any stone unturned.”

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

CLOUD experiment: https://home.cern/science/experiments/cloud

Proton Synchrotron: https://home.cern/science/accelerators/proton-synchrotron

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Ana Lopes.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Tests start at CERN for large-scale prototype of new technology to detect neutrinos













CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

13 October, 2019


Image above: A track made by a cosmic-ray muon, observed in the dual-phase ProtoDUNE detector. The ionisation released by the muon track in liquid argon and by the correlated electromagnetic activity can be seen (Image: ProtoDUNE).

Scientists working at CERN have started tests of a prototype for a new neutrino detector, using novel and very promising technology called “dual phase”. If successful, this technology will be used at a much larger scale for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), hosted at Fermilab in the US.

Scientists began operating the dual-phase ProtoDUNE detector at CERN at the end of August, and have observed the first particle tracks. The detector is a cube about six metres long in each direction – the size of a three-storey house – and is filled with 800 tonnes of argon.

The new technology would be used in addition to so-called single-phase detectors that have been successfully operated for many years. “The single-phase technology is a proven method that will be used to build the first module for the DUNE detector,” said DUNE co-spokesperson Ed Blucher of the University of Chicago. “The dual-phase technology provides a second method that has great potential to add to the DUNE detector’s capabilities.” Indeed, the dual-phase technology may be game-changing: it would significantly amplify the faint signals that particles create when moving through the detector.

The single-phase ProtoDUNE, which began taking data at CERN in September 2018, is filled entirely with liquid argon. Sensors submerged in the liquid record the faint signals generated when a neutrino smashes into an argon atom. The dual-phase version uses liquid argon as the target material and a layer of gaseous argon above the liquid to amplify faint particle signals before they arrive at sensors located at the top of the detector, inside the argon gas. The dual-phase set-up could yield stronger signals and would enable scientists to look for lower-energy neutrino interactions.

The innovative data-collection electronics, each with a surface area of nine square metres, are individually suspended a few millimetres above the liquid level. They sit in the gas layer near the top of the detector, which has special chimneys that open from the outside. This offers the advantage that the electronics can be accessed even when most of the detector is filled with liquid argon at a temperature below -184 °C.

The dual-phase detector features a single active volume with no detector components in the middle of the liquid argon and a reduced number of readout elements at the top. This reduces “dead space” within the detector volume and offers the neutrinos a larger target.

The single- and dual-phase prototypes at CERN are small components of the detector that the DUNE collaboration plans to build in the United States over the next decade: a DUNE detector module will house the equivalent of twenty ProtoDUNEs and operate at up to 600 000 volts.

DUNE plans to build four full-size detector modules based on argon technology. These will be located around 1.5 km underground, at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. Scientists will use them to understand whether neutrinos could be the reason that matter dominates over antimatter in our universe.

The outcomes of the test at CERN will help with deciding how many modules will feature the single-phase technology and how many will use the dual-phase technology.

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

ProtoDUNE, which began taking data at CERN in September 2018: https://home.cern/news/press-release/experiments/first-particle-tracks-seen-prototype-international-neutrino

Dual-phase version: https://www.symmetrymagazine.org/article/a-dual-phase-dune

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image, Text, Credit: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Hubble Snaps Spiral's Profile













NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Oct. 13, 2019


The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope sees galaxies of all shapes, sizes, luminosities and orientations in the cosmos. Sometimes, the telescope gazes at a galaxy oriented sideways — as shown here. The spiral galaxy featured in this Hubble image is called NGC 3717, and it is located about 60 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (the Sea Serpent).

Seeing a spiral almost in profile, as Hubble has here, can provide a vivid sense of its three-dimensional shape. Through most of their expanse, spiral galaxies are shaped like a thin pancake. At their cores, though, they have bright, spherical, star-filled bulges that extend above and below this disk, giving these galaxies a shape somewhat like that of a flying saucer when they are seen edge-on.

NGC 3717 is not captured perfectly edge-on in this image; the nearer part of the galaxy is tilted ever so slightly down, and the far side tilted up. This angle affords a view across the disk and the central bulge (of which only one side is visible).

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Animation Credits: NASA/ESA

For more information about Hubble, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

http://www.spacetelescope.org/

Text Credits: ESA (European Space Agency)/NASA/Rob Garner/Image Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Run top quark run













CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

13 October, 2019

The CMS collaboration has measured for the first time the variation, or “running”, of the top-quark mass 


Image above: A candidate event for a top quark–antiquark pair recorded by the CMS detector. Such an event is expected to produce an electron (green), a muon (red) of opposite charge, two high-energy “jets” of particles (orange) and a large amount of missing energy (purple) (Image: CMS/CERN).

Dive into the subatomic world, into the heart of protons or neutrons, and you’ll find elementary particles known as quarks. Measuring the mass of these quarks can be challenging, but new results from the CMS collaboration reveal for the first time how the mass of the top quark – the heaviest of six types of quarks – varies depending on the energy scale used to measure the particle.

The theory of quantum chromodynamics, a component of the Standard Model, predicts this energy-scale variation, known as running, for the masses of all quarks and for the strong force acting between them. Observing the running masses of quarks can therefore provide a way of testing quantum chromodynamics and the Standard Model.

Experiments at CERN and other laboratories have already measured the running masses of the bottom and charm quarks, the second and third heaviest quarks, and the results were in agreement with quantum chromodynamics. Now, the CMS collaboration has used data from high-energy proton–proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider to chase out the running mass of the top quark.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Animation Credit: CERN

The CMS physicists looked for how often pairs of particles comprising a top quark and its antimatter counterpart were produced in the collisions. They did this measurement at three different energy scales, between about 400 GeV and 1 TeV, and then compared the results with theoretical predictions of the top quark–antiquark production rate. From this comparison, they obtained the top-quark mass at those three energy scales.

The result? The top-quark mass does seem to run as predicted by quantum chromodynamics – that is, it decreases with increasing energy scale. However, the result is based on only three experimental data points. More data points, as well as improved theoretical predictions, should be able to tell with more precision whether that’s indeed the case.

Find out more on the CMS website: https://cms.cern/news/watching-top-quark-mass-run

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 23 Member States.

Related links:

Quantum chromodynamics: https://home.cern/tags/qcd

Standard Model: https://home.cern/science/physics/standard-model

Antimatter: https://home.cern/science/physics/antimatter

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): https://home.cern/science/accelerators/large-hadron-collider

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Ana Lopes.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

vendredi 11 octobre 2019

Second of Five Power Upgrade Spacewalks Wraps Up














ISS - Expedition 61 Mission patch / EVA - Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

October 11, 2019

Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Andrew Morgan of NASA concluded their spacewalk at the International Space Station at 2:23 p.m. EDT. During six-hour and 45-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts continued the replacement of nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries on the far end of the station’s port truss.

Astronauts also were able to accomplish several get-ahead tasks setting up for the next spacewalk.


Image above: Astronauts Andrew Morgan and Christina Koch are pictured in their U.S. spacesuits during a spacewalk earlier this year. Image above:

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries. On Oct. 16, Morgan and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside for another spacewalk to continue the battery replacements on the first of the two power channels for the station’s far port truss. The following spacewalks dedicated to the battery upgrades are scheduled on Oct. 21 and 25.

October 11, 2019 spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA TV

After completion of the battery spacewalks, the second half of this sequence of spacewalks will focus on repairs to the space station’s Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Dates for those spacewalks still are being discussed, but they are expected to begin in November.

Space station crew members have conducted 220 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 57 days 13 hours and 12 minutes working outside the station.

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS): https://www.nasa.gov/feature/extending-science-in-the-search-for-the-origin-of-the-cosmos

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Norah Moran.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of October 7, 2019













ISS - Expedition 61 Mission patch.

Oct. 11, 2019

While it was a week full of spacewalks, the crew aboard the International Space Station fit in some science during the week of Oct. 7. In addition to prepping for a series of battery Extravehicular Activities (EVAs), research conducted included collecting air quality samples, watering veggies and recharging free-flying robot assistants. Research like this conducted aboard the space station is a crucial stepping stone for Artemis, NASA’s plans to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.


Image above: NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan takes an out-of-this-world "space-selfie" during a spacewalk to upgrade space station power systems on the Port-6 (P6) truss structure. He and fellow NASA astronaut Christina Koch (out of frame) worked for about seven hours to begin the latest round of upgrading the station's large nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries. Image Credit: NASA.

Here are details on some of the science conducted on the orbiting laboratory during the week:

Checking out the air

This past week, the crew helped collect samples for the Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (S.A.M.). One of the most important conditions associated with crew health during spaceflight is air quality. Currently, atmosphere quality aboard the space station is assessed by periodic sampling and ground-based analysis using sophisticated instruments. Since samples cannot be returned to Earth during future exploration missions, a complement of smaller and more reliable instruments such as S.A.M. becomes essential to monitor the crew environment.

It’s planting season


Image above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch checks progress on small plant pillows for the Veg-04B investigation. Veg-04B focuses on the effects of light quality and fertilizer on the leafy Mizuna mustard green crop, microbial food safety, nutritional value and the taste acceptability by the crew. Image Credit: NASA.

Watering crops on the space station is a bit different than on Earth. Rather than pouring water onto soil, the crew injected water to small plant pillows that provide needed water to the growing veggies. This is part of Veg-04B, one piece of a phased research project attempting to address the need for a continuous fresh-food production system in space to supplement typical pre-packaged foods for astronauts. Veg-04B focuses on the effects of light quality and fertilizer on the leafy Mizuna mustard green crop, microbial food safety, nutritional value and the taste acceptability by the crew.


Image above: NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan reviews procedures the day before the EVA that took place on Oct. 6 to upgrade the space station’s batteries. Image Credit: NASA.

Getting charged up

The free-flying robot facility known as Astrobee got its batteries charged up this week. The facility is designed to help scientists and engineers develop and test technologies that can assist astronauts with routine chores and give ground controllers additional eyes and ears on the space station. The autonomous robots, powered by fans and vision-based navigation, perform crew monitoring and sampling and logistics management. The robots accommodate up to three investigations.


Animation above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch spins a Grab Sample Container, a device that is used for collecting environmental samples for the Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor.
Image Credit: NASA.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

- The brain is capable of self-regulating blood flow even when the heart and blood vessels cannot maintain an ideal blood pressure. The Cerebral Autoregulation investigation tests whether this self-regulation improves in the microgravity environment of space.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1938

- The Food Physiology experiment is designed to characterize the key effects of an enhanced spaceflight diet on immune function, the gut microbiome and nutritional status indicators.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7870

- Actiwatch is a nonintrusive, wearable monitor that analyzes a crew member’s circadian rhythms, sleep-wake patterns and activity.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=838

- ISS Ham Radio provides students, teachers, parents and other members of the community an opportunity to communicate directly with astronauts using Ham radio units.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=337

- Food Acceptability examines changes in the appeal of food aboard the space station during long-duration missions. “Menu fatigue” from repeatedly consuming a limited choice of foods may contribute to the loss of body mass often experienced by crew members, potentially affecting astronaut health, especially as mission length increases.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562

- The Microgravity Crystals investigation crystallizes a membrane protein that is integral to tumor growth and cancer survival. Results may support development of cancer treatments that target the protein more effectively and with fewer side effects.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7977

- BEST studies the use of DNA sequencing to identify unknown microbial organisms and improve understanding of how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living in space.
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Artemis: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis

Spacecraft Atmosphere Monitor (S.A.M.): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1843

Veg-04B: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7895

Astrobee: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=1891

ISS National Lab: https://www.issnationallab.org/

Spot the Station: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/John Love, Lead Increment Scientist Expedition 61.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Celebrating a Mission That Changed How We Use Radar













NASA - STS-59 Mission patch.

October 11, 2019

Oct. 11, 2019, marks the 25th anniversary of the end of a space mission that transformed the way we use radar to observe large-scale environmental processes on our home planet. The Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) mission made available to people worldwide the scientific data used to this day to inform decisions to slow and mitigate climate change.

The SIR-C instrument, built by NASA'S Jet Propulsion Laborator in Pasadena, California, and the X-SAR instrument, built by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), constituted the most advanced imaging radar system ever used in air or space. During hundreds of orbits on two flights aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, in April and October 1994, the radar system made multiple passes over 19 "supersites" - areas of scientific interest in such locations as the Sahara, Brazil, the Alps and the Gulf Stream. It also imaged events occurring during the flights, such as as a volcano erupting in Russia.


Image above: With SIR-C/X-SAR instruments mounted in the cargo bay atop the shuttle, the Endeavour crew flew upside down, using precise navigation, the hinge on the X-band antenna and "electronic steering" in the C- and L-band antennas to point the radars at "supersites" of scientific interest on Earth. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"The many innovationsof SIR-C/X-SAR have been used in virtually every air- and spaceborne radar mission since, starting with NASA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which mapped 80% of the Earth in 2000," said Tony Freeman, now manager of JPL's Innovation Foundry, who led end-to-end calibration of SIR-C. "DLR's TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X missions have since filled remaining gaps."

Radar imaging of Earth has never been the same since SIR-C/X-SAR's demonstration of what's known as simultaneous multifrequency, fully polarized, repeat-pass interferometric SAR. To unpack that sizable trunk of terminology, let's start with "synthetic aperture radar": Since the late 1970s, NASA has been imaging Earth with radar - in darkness, under cloud cover or vegetation, even underground - using the movements of a host airplane or spacecraft to "synthesize" an "aperture" much larger than the antenna itself. The larger the aperture, the greater the image resolution. Indeed, SIR-C's predecessors, SIR-A and SIR-B, were synthetic aperture radar missions.

However, unlike SIR-C/X-SAR, neither predecessor made radar observations simultaneously in three frequencies - C-, L- and X-band - using three adjacent antennas combined into a massive, 12-by-4-meter, 11.5-ton structure. That advance, analogous to the leap from black-and-white to color film, allowed the mission to collect data in different scales, providing a crisp snapshot of each targeted feature, unmuddied by possible changes over time.

Blazing a Trail

In addition to multiple frequencies, some observations were made in multiple "polarizations." Radio frequency waves can be either horizontal (in a wavy plane parallel to the ground) or vertical (in a plane perpendicular to the ground). The C- and L-band antennas could send and receive waves of both horizontal and vertical polarization. Using this "fully polarized" data, scientists can separate out the scattering of radar waves to distinguish, for example, vegetated from unvegetated terrain.

SIR-C/X-SAR wanted to capture changes over time; that's why it flew on shuttle flights six months apart. To observe the same supersites during both flights and to make consistent daily passes over them, the shuttle crew used sophisticated algorithms to navigate the spacecraft in precise orbits as close as 10 meters apart. And they did this flying upside down, since the cargo bay holding the instruments was on top of the shuttle. While the X-band antenna had a hinge, the C- and L-band antennas were fixed at a particular angle, but they had "electronic steering" that allowed them to "see" to either side of what was right in front of them.

Those repeated, slightly offset passes over the same terrain were essential for the data-processing technique of interferometry. Combining views, interferometry creates detailed, 3D topographical images of a target at the moment of simultaneous observations. And it can reveal even minute changes in the target between successive observations - like the gradual creep of an earthquake fault or the movement of an ice sheet.


Image above: These ancient river channels, invisible to the human eye beneath the deep, dry sand of the Sahara Desert, were revealed for the first time by SIR-C/X-SAR instruments during their second shuttle flight in October 1994. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The SIR-C/X-SAR dataset proved immediately useful, revealing, for instance, ancient riverbeds beneath the Sahara - an artifact of preindustrial climate change - and remains in high demand.

"SIR-C/X-SAR was the path opener for multiple U.S. and international missions that followed," said Charles Elachi, the mission's principal investigator before he became director of JPL. "Imaging of subsurface river channels in the Eastern Sahara enabled new understanding of the environmental history of that and other arid regions. Using multiple frequencies enabled for the first time 'color' radar images that have been used extensively to map vegetation and forests and extract their vegetation content. Using repeat-pass interferometry enabled us for the first time to map surface motion at the centimeter level. This technique is now commonly used to map motions resulting from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters."

Freeman agrees: "SIR-C/X-SAR was innovative on so many fronts: We knew what we were working on was something special, but we didn't know at the time how many firsts the mission would rack up".

The NASA Image and Video Library makes mission data available to researchers worldwide. The University of Michigan hosts a search tool for accessing its own vast SIR-C/X-SAR database. And in its MapReady tool the University of Alaska Satellite Facility has processed the data for compatibility with multiple computer platforms.

Missions using technologies pioneered by SIR-C/X-SAR have revealed changes in Earth's natural features over increasingly meaningful periods, informing long-term policy to prevent and mitigate climate change. At the same time, they reveal the immediate effects of natural disasters rapidly enough to advise first responders.


Image above: Using the technique of interferometric SAR first demonstrated on SIR-C/X-SAR, four international space agencies cooperated to combine many years' worth of radar observations over the Greenland ice sheet to map its depth and accelerating speed of loss. Image Credits: Courtesy of NASA/GSFC/Jefferson Beck.

SIR-C/X-SAR was a collaboration of NASA, DLR and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), which contributed to the ground segment for X-SAR observations. JPL managed the mission for NASA. DLR was responsible for calibration, operations and data processing for X-SAR.

Related links:

NASA Image and Video Library: https://images.nasa.gov/

MapReady: https://www.asf.alaska.edu/data-tools/mapready/

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/JPL/Matthew Segal.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch