On May 4, 2002, a Delta-2 rocket carrying NASA's Aqua satellite was launched into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. Aboard the satellite was an instrument designed to deliver weather and climate information of Earth's atmosphere using a technique called infrared sounding. Now in orbit the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument, or AIRS for short, measures the infrared, or heat, energy emitted by Earth's surface and atmosphere.
New satellite images just obtained from NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft and the Indian Space Research Organization's OceanSAT-2 ocean wind scatterometer provide a glimpse into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on Earth.
An unusually quiet start to the spring 2014 tornado season in the United States ended abruptly Sunday, April 27. That's when severe weather moved through the central and southern states, and it is continuing through Tuesday, April 29. The National Weather Service says, as of Tuesday morning, more than 110 tornados had been reported, resulting in numerous fatalities across several states.
For 10 years, it has silently swooped through space in its orbital perch 438 miles (705 kilometers) above Earth, its nearly 2,400 spectral "eyes" peering into Earth's atmosphere, watching. But there's nothing alien about NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, or AIRS, instrument, a "monster" of weather and climate research that celebrates its 10th birthday in orbit May 4.