After 15 Years NASA and DLR Prepare to Say Goodbye to GRACE

On March 17, 2002, a pair of satellites nicknamed “Tom” and “Jerry” launched aboard a Russian Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. It was the start of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, aka GRACE, a partnership mission between NASA and the German space agency (DLR) to map Earth’s gravity field and how it…

Did Ancient Supernovas Change Earth’s Climate?

Supernovas are some of the most powerful and energetic events in the entire Universe. When a dying star explodes you wouldn’t want to be anywhere nearby—fresh elements are nice and all, but the energy and radiation from a supernova would roast any planets within tens if not hundreds of light-years in all directions. Luckily for us…

After 15 Years NASA’s TIMED Spacecraft Keeps On Ticking

It may not be the first (or even second or third) satellite mission that comes to mind but NASA and JHUAPL’s TIMED mission continues to deliver invaluable data about Earth’s upper atmosphere over 15 years after its launch on Dec. 7, 2001. In fact its extended long-duration stay in orbit has allowed TIMED (Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics)…

SpaceX Sends NOAA’s DSCOVR On a Million-Mile Journey

Third time was definitely a charm today for SpaceX, NASA, and NOAA as the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) launched from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket after two scrubbed attempts. Liftoff occurred at 6:03 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Feb. 11 into a clear sky as the Sun was setting – a truly picturesque backdrop for…

Win a DVD of NOVA’s Excellent “Earth From Space”

Earth… our home planet, a brilliant “blue marble” tirelessly turning through space on an endless journey around the Sun and across the galaxy. Basically a ball of  molten rock and metal, its relatively thin crust is mostly covered by a sea of liquid water as well as wrapped in a sea of air… and it’s…

From the LITD Archives: No Such Thing as Global Warming?

Originally posted April 22, 2009 Tell that to the Wilkins Ice Shelf. At least 10,000 years old, the 1/3 mile wide span of ice that linked Antarctica to nearby Charcot Island broke apart on April 5, 2009, as expected by scientists watching worldwide. This collapse opens a path for icebergs from the rest of the…