Image from TERRA
Thu, 30 Dec 2021 13:00 EST

In 2021, Hurricane Ida left over 1 million people without power, tornadoes tore across the American Midwest, volcanoes forced people to evacuate their homes, wildfires covered the American West and unusual flooding wreaked havoc on Central Europe.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:00 EDT

Instruments, like this flux tower, are used by scientists to verify the accuracy of the data available in OpenET, a powerful new web-based platform that puts Earth science data about water use by crops and other vegetation into the hands of farmers and water managers.

Image from TERRA
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 13:00 EDT

The U.S. Forest Service now has a powerful way to view near-real time fire detection from NASA satellite data that they can include in their hourly air quality forecasts.

Terra Orbital Drift Information

Terra has consistently orbited Earth from Pole to Pole for over twenty years, collecting important data about Earth’s systems. Crossing the equator at 10:30 am mean local time allowed Terra’s five instruments to collect consistent, simultaneous data, important to Earth’s systems research and applications. In 2020, Terra completed its final inclination maneuver, using some of its limited fuel supply, to maintain that crossing time. 

Since that final inclination maneuver, Terra has drifted to an earlier equatorial crossing time. By the Fall of 2022, Terra’s crossing time will exceed 10:15 am. Then, Terra, will be lowered to a new orbit where it will be able to collect valuable data at an even earlier crossing time.

As Terra’s crossing time creeps earlier, small changes will be noticeable in Terra’s data and imagery. Evidence in imagery of the earlier crossing time will be visible as longer shadows, especially in mountain landscapes. Meanwhile as Terra moves closer to Earth, the sensors’ views will become narrower leading to slightly narrower swath widths.   The effect will be most noticeable in ASTER imagery, but each of Terra’s sensors will be affected. However, the impact on science is expected to be minimal. In fact, some impacts could prove beneficial to some areas of research – like land morphology, surface temperature, and climate research.

Terra’s lengthy legacy of more than two decades of data will continue to contribute to meaningful research of Earth’s Systems science for years to come.