Salt-seeking instrument blanketed in silver

Jan 25, 2011 By Alan Buis
NASA technicians install thermal blankets on the Aquarius instrument at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Technicians from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., completed the installation of thermal blankets on NASA's Aquarius instrument last week, as the Aquarius/Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC-D) spacecraft continued functional performance tests at Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (Laboratório de Integracao e Testes – Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, or LIT-INPE) in Sáo José dos Campos.

Activities are proceeding on schedule for shipment of the to California's Vandenberg Air Force Base in late March for a launch in early June.

Aquarius/SAC-D is an international mission involving and Argentina's space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales. Aquarius, the primary instrument on the mission, was built jointly by JPL and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. It will provide monthly global maps of how the concentration of dissolved salt (known as salinity) varies on the ocean surface. Salinity is a key tracer for understanding the ocean's role in Earth's water cycle and understanding ocean circulation.

By measuring ocean salinity from space, Aquarius will provide new insights into how the massive natural interplay of freshwater moving among the ocean, atmosphere and sea ice influences Earth's ocean circulation, weather and climate.

Explore further: Philae's comet may host alien 'life': astronomers

More information: For more information on Aquarius, visit: www.aquarius.nasa.gov

Related Stories

NASA's sea salt sensor to get cooked, chilled

Nov 24, 2010

While most Americans are traveling to family gatherings this week for Thanksgiving, a team of scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, ...

Salt-Seeking Satellite Shaken By Quake, But Not Stirred

Mar 02, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Aquarius instrument, and the Argentinian spacecraft that will carry it into space, the Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas (SAC-D), successfully rode out one of the largest earthquakes in recorded ...

Sea Salt Holds Clues to Climate Change

May 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- We know that average sea levels have risen over the past century, and that global warming is to blame. But what is climate change doing to the saltiness, or salinity, of our oceans?

WISE Snug in Its Nose Cone; Launch Set for Dec. 9

Dec 01, 2009

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has been wrapped in the outer nose cone, or "fairing," that will protect it during its scheduled Dec. 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Recommended for you

What is the newest planet?

17 hours ago

With astronomers discovering new planets and other celestial objects all the time, you may be wondering what the newest planet to be discovered is. Well, that depends on your frame of reference. If we are ...

Catching Earth at aphelion

17 hours ago

Do you feel a littleā€¦ distant today? The day after the 4th of July weekend brings with it the promise of barbecue leftovers and discount fireworks. It also sees our fair planet at aphelion, or its farthest ...

Opportunity's 7th Mars winter to include new study area

18 hours ago

Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover's seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.