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: NASA: Engineer vital to 1969 moon landing dies

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

Testing immune cells on the International Space Station

3 hours ago

The human body is fine-tuned to Earth's gravity. A team headed by Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy is now conducting an experiment on the International Space Station ...

Easter morning delivery for space station

8 hours ago

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Apr 19, 2014

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

Apr 18, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.