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 history Feb. 27 with no problems.

The instrument and are at the satellite systems contractor's satellite integration facility in Bariloche, Argentina. The city of Bariloche, located approximately 588 kilometers, or 365 miles, from the epicenter of the magnitude 8.8 , experienced light shaking, as indicated by the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, which evaluates the effects of earthquakes as experienced by people in the region. No damage was reported to the facility or spacecraft. A separate magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Salta, Argentina, later that day that was triggered by the earthquake was too far away (1,900 kilometers or 1,200 miles) to be felt in Bariloche.

The JPL-built Aquarius instrument is at the Bariloche facility to be integrated with the SAC-D satellite.

Aquarius/SAC-D is an international mission between and Argentina's space agency, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales. The primary instrument on the mission, Aquarius is designed to provide monthly global maps of how salt concentration varies on the ocean surface -- a key indicator of ocean circulation and its role in climate change. Seven Argentine space agency-sponsored instruments will provide environmental data for a wide range of applications, including natural hazards, land processes, epidemiological studies and air quality issues.

The minimum three-year mission is scheduled to launch late this year from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Explore further: China to send orbiter to moon and back

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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?

Recommended for you

China to send orbiter to moon and back

2 hours ago

China will launch its latest lunar orbiter in the coming days, state media said Wednesday, in its first attempt to send a spacecraft around the moon and back to Earth.

NASA Webb's heart survives deep freeze test

12 hours ago

After 116 days of being subjected to extremely frigid temperatures like that in space, the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) and its sensitive instruments, ...

Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions

16 hours ago

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky, concludes a new paper ...

MAVEN studies passing comet and its effects

19 hours ago

NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere.

How to safely enjoy the October 23 partial solar eclipse

19 hours ago

2014 – a year rich in eclipses. The Moon dutifully slid into Earth's shadow in April and October gifting us with two total lunars. Now it's the Sun's turn. This Thursday October 23 skywatchers across much ...

User comments : 0