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Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites.

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NASA Probe Sees Solar Wind Decline

The 33-year odyssey of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has reached a distant point at the edge of our solar system where there is no outward motion of solar wind. Now hurtling toward interstellar space some 17.4 billion...

Super-Earth Atmosphere

A team of astronomers, including two NASA Sagan Fellows, has made the first characterizations of a super-Earth's atmosphere, by using a ground-based telescope...

Kepler Discovers

NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of, or transiting, the same star...

Pulverized Planet

Tight double-star systems might not be the best places for life to spring up, according to a new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope....

Dark Asteroids

NASA is set to launch a sensitive new infrared telescope to seek out sneaky things in the night sky -- among them, dark asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth....

Glory is a remote-sensing Earth-orbiting observatory designed to achieve two separate mission objectives. One is to collect data on the chemical, microphysical, and optical properties, and spatial and temporal distributions of aerosols. The other is to continue collection of total solar irradiance data for the long-term climate record.

The Glory mission's scientific objectives are met by implementing two separate science instruments, one with the ability to collect polarimetric measurements along the satellite ground track within the solar reflective spectral region (0.4 to 2.4 micrometers) and one with the ability to monitor changes in sunlight incident on the Earth's atmosphere by collecting high accuracy, high precision measurements of total solar irradiance.

Glory accomplishes these objectives by deploying two instruments aboard a low earth orbit satellite, the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS) and the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM). Additionally, a cloud camera system will provide images that allow the APS scans along the spacecraft ground track to be put into spatial context and to facilitate determination of cloud occurrence within the APS instantaneous field of view.

The Glory mission will respond to the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) by continuing and improving upon NASA's research of the forcings influencing climate change in the atmosphere. As summarized below, measurements produced by this mission and the scientific knowledge such observations will provide are essential to predicting future climate change, and to making sound, scientifically based economic and policy decisions related to environmental change.

The science objectives of the Glory mission include:

1. The determination of the global distribution, microphysical properties, and chemical composition of natural and anthropogenic aerosols and clouds with accuracy and coverage sufficient for a reliable quantification of the aerosol direct and indirect effects on climate.

2. The continued measurement of the total solar irradiance to determine the Sun's direct and indirect effect on the Earth's climate.

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