The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), is a 36-band spectroradiometer measuring visible and infrared radiation and obtaining data that are being used to derive products ranging from vegetation, land surface cover, and ocean chlorophyll fluorescence to cloud and aerosol properties, fire occurrence, snow cover on the land, and sea ice cover on the oceans. The first MODIS instrument was launched on board the Terra satellite in December 1999, and the second was launched on Aqua in May 2002.

Instrument Characteristics

  • Selected for flight on Terra (launched Dec. 1999) and Aqua.
  • Medium-resolution, multi-spectral, cross-track scanning radiometer.
  • Measures physical properties of the atmosphere, and biological and physical properties of the oceans and land.
  • 36 spectral bands—21 within 0.4-3.0 µm; 15 within 3-14.5 µm.
  • Continuous global coverage every 1 to 2 days.
  • Signal-to-noise ratios from 900 to 1300 for 1 km ocean color bands at 70° solar zenith angle.
  • NEDT's typically < 0.05 K at 300K.
  • Absolute irradiance accuracy of 5% for <3 µm and 1% for >3 µm.
  • Daylight reflection and day/night emission spectral imaging.
Instrument Facts
Responsible Center: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Heritage: Advanded Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS), Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), and Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS)
Polarization Sensitivity: 2% from 0.43 µm to 2.2 µm and ±45° scan
Swath: 2300 km at 110° (±55°) from 705 km altitude
Mass: 229 kg
Duty Cycle: 100%
Data Rate: 6.2 Mbps (average), 10.5 Mbps (day), 3.2 Mbps (night)
Thermal Control By: Radiator
Thermal Operating Range: 268°K ±5°K
Field of View (FOV): ±49.5°
Instrument Instantaneous FOV: 250 m (2 bands), 500 m (5 bands), 1000 m (29 bands)
Geolocation (100m, 2σ)
Control: 3600 arcsec
Knowledge: 141 arcsec
Stability: 28 arcsec/sec
Jitter: 1031 arcsec/sec (yaw and roll), 47 arcsec/sec (pitch)
Physical Size: 1.044 x 1.184 x 1.638 m