CloudSat and Calipso satellites successfully launched

I didn’t get a chance to blog this earlier because of our slow internet connection in San Juan, but NASA’s 2 new cloud monitoring satellites, CloudSat and Calipso, were successfully launched Friday morning after some difficulties they delayed their originial launch date. What’s cool about these satellites is that they are carrying instruments that can view clouds in 3D, which will hopefully give scientists new perspectives on how clouds and airborne particles like aerosols impact weather and climate.


NASA satellites helping to monitor Great Barrier Reef featured an article today about NASA’s role in a global effort to monitor the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, part of the Earth Observing System (EOS), are used to capture frequent data on ocean surface temperature and color, which are important indicators of the health of the reefs and the algae that essential to the coral. If water temperatures get too high, the algae are forced out of the coral, which become bleached and can eventually die.

See a total solar eclipse “live” on your computer

Tomorrow (Wednesday) there will be a total or near-total solar eclipse that will be visible in parts of Europe, Africa, and South America (see this guide from MSNBC). For the rest of us, however, NASA and the Exploratorium will be offering a live satellite broadcast of the eclipse from Side, Turkey, starting at 5am Eastern US Standard Time Wednesday. Over 90 museums, planetariums and other sites around the world will be broadcasting the eclipse, and the video will be streamed live over the Internet via, NASA, and other outlets. will also be offering their own coverage.

In a cool twist, the Exploratorium will be streaming the total eclipse into the virtual world of Second Life, the online virtual world game, where a developer has created a virtual version of the Roman-era ampitheatre where NASA will be broadcasting from.

So, if you can get up at that hour, or for those of you in Europe and Asia where it will be much later in the day, check out the eclipse without the danger of damaging your eyes!


Google Mars!

Way cool for space nuts out there like me…. Google Mars!  It’s just like Google Local, except with data from Mars.  There’s a nice elevation dataset and some interesting visible data as well.  Of course you can’t search for pizza joints in the area, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction!

Signs of Water on Saturn Moon Enceladus!

Nasa is reporting this after that their Cassini probe has discovered what appears to be liquid water errupting “Old Faithful” style from the surface of Enceladus.  As everyone is probably aware, water is the key to life… As the director of the imaging program said, “… we have significantly broadened the diversity of solar system environments where we might possibly have conditions suitable for living organisms.”  Pretty exciting news!

Biggest Image on the Web

IIPImage has what is touted to be the largest image ever posted on the web. The image is a 86400 x 43200 pixel, RGB, 10.7GB uncompressed TIFF, of….. you guessed it! Earth! It should come as no suprise to anyone working in the geospatial community that a large file viewer like this would be used first and foremost for geographic data. It’s pretty fun to zoom around and see the image detail. This could become a pretty useful tool for anyone wanting to display large remote sensing data.

Via Digg.

5th International Symposium on Digital Earth – SF2007

We came across information on the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth that will take place in the summer of 2007 in San Francisco. The call for papers should be coming out soon and abstracts will be due in June. In addition, there is information on the Inaugural Digital Earth Summit on Sustainability that will take place in August in New Zealand

5th International Symposium on Digital Earth – SF2007

Identifying Ancient Maya sites with Remote Sensing

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire, in conjunction with scientists at NASA, have been using remote sensing techniques to identify prehistoric Maya sites in Central America. The dense tropical rain forests in the region make the identification of sites from the air or on the ground very difficult. By analyzing high-resolution imagery and NASA’s Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, the researchers were able to identify a specific  reflectivity in the vegetation around known archaeological sites in the area, and used that “signature” to identify areas where  previously unrecorded sites might be located. Field-testing in 2004 demonstrated the utility of this technique, when the archaeologists identified a number of Mayan sites. More details can be found in this article from
Via Archaeology Magazine