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Las mejores imágenes de las investigaciones en la estación del 2023


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Cientos de experimentos viajaron a bordo de la Estación Espacial Internacional en 2023, cubriendo una amplia gama de temas científicos, incluyendo biología, investigación humana y ciencias de la Tierra. Echa un vistazo a las investigaciones en la estación con esta galería de imágenes.

Biología y biotecnología

Desarrollo de cristalización de proteínas a temperatura moderada (MTPCG)

Wakata está de pie detrás de dos contenedores cilíndricos grises que flotan. Sus brazos están extendidos a los lados y tiene un iPad con velcro en su pierna derecha. Varios cables y cajas están a lo largo de los lados del módulo.
NASA

(9 de enero de 2023) — El astronauta Koichi Wakata, de la JAXA (Agencia Japonesa de Exploración Aeroespacial), extrae muestras del experimento Desarrollo de Cristalización de Proteínas a Temperatura Moderada (MTPCG, por sus siglas en inglés) de la JAXA para enviarlas a la Tierra. El personal de la estación ha desarrollado estos cristales durante más de 20 años para más de 500 experimentos relacionados. La microgravedad produce resultados de mejor calidad para investigaciones médicas.

StemCellEX-H Pathfinder

Tres astronautas trabajan en diversas tareas. En el sentido de las agujas del reloj, desde la izquierda, el astronauta de la NASA Woody Hoburg, vistiendo una camiseta verde, mira a la cámara y sonríe mientras flota y se sostiene a una barra en la pared. Rubio se mira las manos, que están dentro de la Caja de guantes de las Ciencias Biológicas. Sultan Alneyadi, de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos, sonríe a la cámara.
NASA

(17 de agosto de 2023) — Los astronautas de la Expedición 69 trabajan en diversas tareas dentro del módulo del laboratorio Kibo de la estación espacial.

El astronauta de la NASA Frank Rubio trabaja en el experimento StemCellEX-H Pathfinder, el cual lleva a cabo pruebas con métodos para producir células madre humanas en el espacio. La producción de estas células en microgravedad podría proporcionar mayores rendimientos que serían más adecuados para fines médicos.

BioNutrientes 2

Mann lleva una camiseta polo negra, sonríe a la cámara y sostiene dos paquetes de muestras que contienen un líquido de color amarillo. Una mesa frente a Mann contiene más paquetes llenos de las muestras.
NASA

(3 de enero de 2023) — La astronauta de la NASA Nicole Mann manipula bolsas de producción para el experimento BioNutrientes 2. Este experimento utiliza microbios modificados genéticamente para producir nutrientes clave a partir de productos lácteos fermentados como el yogur y el kéfir. La producción de vitaminas y otros nutrientes durante el vuelo podría ayudar a mantener la salud de los miembros de la tripulación en misiones de larga duración.

Hábitat de Plantas 03 en el APH

Cuarenta y ocho plantas de Arabidopsis thaliana, etiquetadas y con pequeñas hojas verdes, germinan en una cuadrícula negra de 1,8 x 2,4 metros (6 x 8 pies) dentro del Hábitat Avanzado de Plantas de la estación.
NASA

(8 de agosto de 2023) — Plantas de la especie Arabidopsis thaliana germinan dentro del Hábitat Avanzado de Plantas (APH, por sus siglas en inglés). El Hábitat de Plantas 03, uno de los primeros experimentos de cultivos multigeneracionales a bordo de la estación espacial, estudia si las adaptaciones genéticas en microgravedad se transfieren a la siguiente generación. Esta investigación podría ofrecer información sobre cómo proporcionar alimentos y otros servicios para futuras misiones espaciales mediante el cultivo de generaciones repetidas de plantas.

Investigación humana

Evaluación de la inmunidad

Mogensen prepara muestras de sangre para su almacenamiento. Lleva una camisa negra y guantes azules estériles, y mira a la cámara mientras sostiene una jeringa.
NASA

(18 de septiembre de 2023) — El astronauta Andreas Mogensen, de la ESA (Agencia Espacial Europea), procesa muestras de sangre para el Evaluación de la inmunidad. Esta investigación de la ESA hace seguimiento al impacto de los factores estresantes de los vuelos espaciales en la actividad inmunitaria de las células en la sangre con la ayuda de una prueba inmunitaria funcional. Este novedoso experimento podría ayudar a evaluar la actividad inmunitaria celular en el espacio y en la Tierra.

GRIP

Cassada está sentado en una silla especial rodeada de paredes cubiertas con cables, tubos y equipos. Su torso está sujeto con un arnés y sus pies están metidos dentro de correas sujetadoras.
NASA

(14 de febrero de 2023) — El astronauta de la NASA Josh Cassada realiza varias series de movimientos para GRIP, un experimento centrado en la manera como los astronautas agarran y manipulan objetos en microgravedad. Los datos de los experimentos de GRIP podrían identificar peligros potenciales para los astronautas cuando se desplazan entre entornos con diferentes niveles de gravedad.

CIPHER

O’Hara se prepara para una sesión de ejercicios. Está mirando un iPad y se sostiene con su mano izquierda a una barra conectada a la pared.
NASA

(29 de septiembre de 2023) — La astronauta de la NASA Loral O’Hara establece el ciclo de ejercicios de la máquina CEVIS en la estación con el fin de recopilar datos para el Complemento de Protocolos Integrados para la Investigación de Exploración Humana en Misiones de Diferente Duración (CIPHER, por sus siglas en inglés). Esta investigación reúne datos obtenidos de diferentes astronautas para estudiar los cambios fisiológicos y psicológicos que experimentan los miembros de la tripulación en misiones de diferente duración. Los resultados podrían proporcionar información para la creación de programas que promuevan la salud y el bienestar de los astronautas en futuras misiones.

Instalación de Biomanufactura (BFF)

Los brazos de Moghbeli están metidos dentro de grandes guantes plásticos conectados a una bolsa de guantes de plástico transparente y flexible, la cual está sujeta a la pared de la estación espacial. Moghbeli lleva una camisa azul y un foco en la cabeza. Está mirando a la cámara por encima del hombro y sonríe.
NASA

(24 de noviembre de 2023) — La astronauta de la NASA Jasmin Moghbeli intercambia componentes dentro de la Instalación de Biomanufactura (BFF, por sus siglas en inglés), la cual está diseñada para imprimir en microgravedad tejidos en 3D similares a órganos humanos. Este trabajo es un trampolín hacia la fabricación de órganos completos para trasplantes.

Ciencias físicas

SoFIE-GEL

Esta imagen muestra una esfera de acrílico de 4 cm de diámetro quemándose en microgravedad. La llama naranja aparece cerca del final de la combustión, después de haber engullido toda la burbuja de combustible y de que el pequeño punto de ignición en el lado derecho se hiciera más grande.
NASA

(13 de enero de 2023) — El experimento Ignición y Extinción de Combustible Sólido: Límites de Crecimiento y Extinción (SoFIE-GEL, por sus siglas en inglés) estudia la combustión en microgravedad. Comprender cómo se desarrollan y se extinguen las llamas ayuda a mejorar la seguridad contra incendios en las naves espaciales. Los hallazgos podrían ayudar a los investigadores a identificar materiales más seguros para las naves espaciales y a desarrollar técnicas más efectivas para la extinción de incendios.

FLUIDICS

Una esfera transparente del tamaño de un puño llena con un líquido anaranjado se aleja flotando de las manos de Alneyadi, quien lleva una camiseta polo negra y mira a la cámara. Hay varios cables pegados a la pared a la izquierda de Alneyadi.
NASA

(19 de junio de 2023) — El astronauta Sultan Alneyadi, de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos, trabaja en el experimento Dinámica de Fluidos en el Espacio (FLUIDICS, por sus siglas en inglés). El experimento analiza cómo los líquidos chapotean dentro de un recipiente en microgravedad. Esta investigación podría ayudar a optimizar el diseño de sistemas de combustible para satélites.

Desarrollo de semiconductores de compuestos ternarios (GTCS)

Furukawa mira a la cámara y mantiene abierta una puerta blanca. Detrás de la puerta hay varios paneles y un gran compartimiento circular. Las paredes de la estación detrás de él están cubiertas con cables, cuerdas y equipos.
NASA

(4 de septiembre de 2023) — El astronauta de la JAXA (Agencia Japonesa de Exploración Aeroespacial) Satoshi Furukawa intercambia muestras de cristales para el experimento Desarrollo de semiconductores de compuestos ternarios (GTCS, por sus siglas en inglés), el cual compara la calidad de los cristales desarrollados en microgravedad y en la Tierra. Los cristales tienen diversas aplicaciones ópticas, como los láseres infrarrojos.

Tecnología

Astrobee

Alneyadi, vestido con una camisa azul oscuro, pantalones caqui y calcetines blancos, flota con las piernas cruzadas a la derecha del robot Astrobee, que tiene forma de cubo azul. Un Astrobee verde flota en el fondo. Computadoras portátiles, cables, luces y equipos cubren las paredes a su alrededor.
NASA

(23 de junio de 2023) — El astronauta de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos Sultan Alneyadi flota junto a un sistema robótico Astrobee a bordo de la estación espacial. Estos robots de vuelo libre asisten a la tripulación en las tareas rutinarias, ayudando a conservar uno de los recursos más importantes de un astronauta: el tiempo.

Sistema visible CapiSorb

Hoburg ajusta parte de un experimento en la mesa frente a él. Lleva una camiseta verde y pantalones caqui. Dos recipientes transparentes de líquido rojo están unidos a tubos traslúcidos que corren en diferentes direcciones.
NASA

(21 de abril de 2023) — El astronauta de la NASA Woody Hoburg lleva a cabo una prueba para el experimento Sistema Visible CapiSorb, el cual demuestra el control de material absorbente líquido en el espacio utilizando la fuerza capilar o de absorción. Los materiales absorbentes líquidos son un medio que podría eliminar de manera más eficaz el dióxido de carbono en las futuras naves espaciales.

ILLUMA-T

El brazo robótico Canadarm2, largo y blanco, y un brazo robótico japonés, corto y blanco, manipulan un gran paquete blanco en una nueva terminal en el exterior de la estación espacial. Abajo se puede ver la esfera azul de la Tierra con delgadas nubes dispersas.
NASA

(14 de noviembre de 2023) — Los brazos robóticos de la estación espacial instalan un nuevo dispositivo de comunicaciones láser: la Terminal Integrada de Amplificador y Módem de Usuario en la Órbita Terrestre Baja de la Demostración del Retransmisor de Comunicaciones Láser (ILLUMA-T, por sus siglas en inglés).

Esta tecnología podría proporcionar una descarga más rápida de datos desde el espacio a la Tierra en una variedad de regímenes espaciales, incluyendo futuras misiones a la Luna y Marte.

Ciencias de la Tierra y del espacio

ECOSTRESS

En el centro de la imagen, la ciudad de Houston es de color rojo oscuro. Una delgada franja de color naranja, que indica las áreas más frías, rodea las zonas rojas. Hay una amplia banda de color amarillo, luego una banda de color verde claro y algunas áreas azules a lo largo de los bordes de la imagen, lo cual corresponde a la temperatura más fría de la superficie terrestre.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

(13 de junio de 2023) — El Experimento Radiómetro Térmico Espacial ECOSystem en la Estación Espacial (ECOSTRESS, por sus siglas en inglés) registra las temperaturas del suelo y de la vegetación. Esta imagen de Houston, Texas, muestra que las superficies urbanas —como calles, carreteras y autopistas— son más cálidas, como se ve en rojo, en comparación con las afueras de la ciudad. La principal misión de ECOSTRESS es identificar el estrés hídrico en las plantas; este experimento también puede documentar otros fenómenos relacionados con el calor.

NICER

Una gran caja blanca unida al exterior de la estación espacial está cubierta con detectores circulares que parecen ruedas pequeñas. Los paneles solares de la estación ocupan el fondo.
NASA

(13 de junio de 2023) — La investigación Explorador de la Composición Interior de las Estrellas de Neutrones (NICER, por sus siglas en inglés) estudia la naturaleza y el comportamiento de las estrellas de neutrones o púlsares, los agujeros negros y otros objetivos de importancia científica. La medición de las radiaciones de rayos X recopiladas por NICER revelaron similitudes en dos estallidos separados de un púlsar en 2006 y 2020. Un mayor seguimiento y análisis de estas emisiones podría proporcionar una mejor comprensión de la naturaleza y evolución de esta estrella.

Observaciones de la Tierra de la Tripulación

La costa occidental de Chile es visible a través de la ventana central de la cúpula. Se puede ver un panel solar a través de una ventana a la izquierda y, en el centro, una parte del panel solar en forma de platillo de Northrop Grumman. El segmento de Roscosmos de la estación es visible en la parte inferior derecha.
NASA

(13 de noviembre de 2023) — Las ventanas de la cúpula de la estación espacial brindan a la tripulación una vista única del planeta. Para las Observaciones de la Tierra de la Tripulación, los astronautas toman fotografías que muestran cómo los paisajes, el agua y la atmósfera de la Tierra cambian a lo largo del tiempo por causas humanas y naturales. Esta investigación es uno de los registros fotográficos más antiguos que se han hecho de la Tierra y sustenta el bienestar de la tripulación.

Actividades educativas y culturales

Programa de radioaficionados ARISS

Bowen sostiene un micrófono de radio en su mano derecha. Lleva una camiseta azul y pantalones cortos caqui con tiras de velcro horizontales y un iPad sujeto a ellas.
NASA

(18 de julio de 2023) — El astronauta de la NASA Stephen Bowen realiza una sesión de radioaficionados con estudiantes de Canadá. El programa de Radioaficionados de la Estación Espacial Internacional (ARISS, por sus siglas en inglés) fue la primera iniciativa educativa a bordo de la estación espacial. El impacto de este contacto por radio puede ser revolucionario, alentando a los estudiantes a estudiar ciencias, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas.

Genes en el Espacio 10

Rubio tiene guantes azules de goma y levanta el pulgar mientras sostiene una pequeña máquina para pruebas de PCR del tamaño de un libro de bolsillo dentro del módulo del laboratorio Columbus. A su derecha está una computadora portátil y sobre él hay una cámara.
NASA

(13 de julio de 2023) — El astronauta de la NASA Frank Rubio lleva a cabo el experimento Genes en el Espacio 10, el cual realiza pruebas con un método para medir la longitud de los telómeros, que son las estructuras en forma de punta en los extremos del ADN. Esta investigación podría proporcionar un método para integrar las mediciones del ADN y los diagnósticos médicos basados en la genética, apoyando las investigaciones biológicas en el espacio.

Otros

Aproximación de la nave Dragon

 Los propulsores de la blanca nave Dragon de SpaceX se ven como cuatro líneas rectas blancas que salen de detrás de la nave espacial contra el fondo negro del espacio.
NASA

(11 de noviembre de 2023) — Con más de 2.950 kilogramos (6.500 libras) de carga, la 29.a misión comercial de reabastecimiento de SpaceX llega a la estación espacial el 11 de noviembre de 2023. Un tercio de ese peso consiste en experimentos científicos, incluyendo estudios de comunicaciones ópticas mejoradas y un dispositivo para medir las ondas atmosféricas.

Canadarm2 y Dextre

Esta imagen muestra el brazo robótico Canadarm2 extendiéndose por debajo de la Estación Espacial Internacional mientras esta orbita a 418 kilómetros (260 millas) de altura sobre las luces de las ciudades de la península arábiga.
NASA

(26 de octubre de 2023) — El brazo robótico Canadarm2, con su mano robótica Dextre acoplada a él, es fotografiado mientras la Estación Espacial Internacional orbita a 418 kilómetros (260 millas) de altura sobre las luces de las ciudades de la península arábiga. Canadarm2 es utilizado para instalar experimentos fuera de la estación espacial de forma remota. Utilizando el punto de vista del espacio, estos experimentos pueden captar información sobre nuestro planeta y nuestro papel en el sistema solar.

Cygnus e iROSA

El carguero espacial Cygnus, de forma cilíndrica, con paneles blancos y plateados y un gran panel solar en forma de platillo en su parte inferior, está conectado a un puerto orientado hacia la Tierra en la estación espacial. La esfera azul de la Tierra, con nubes blancas, ocupa el fondo.
NASA

(1 de septiembre de 2023) — La 19.a misión comercial de reabastecimiento de Northrop Grumman llevó 3.720 kilogramos (8.200 libras) de investigaciones científicas y carga a la estación espacial, incluyendo obras de arte digital creadas por estudiantes y un estudio sobre terapia génica específica para las neuronas.

El módulo Columbus

Mogensen flota en el centro del módulo del laboratorio Columbus. Varios cables, cajas y computadoras portátiles están sujetos a las paredes que lo rodean.
NASA

(29 de agosto de 2023) — El astronauta Andreas Mogensen, de la ESA (Agencia Espacial Europea), flota en el laboratorio Columbus. Este laboratorio es el principal centro de investigaciones para experimentos de la ESA en la estación espacial. Columbus es un laboratorio presurizado multifuncional que permite una amplia variedad de investigaciones en microgravedad.

Descarga de las imagenes: https://www.nasa.gov/gallery/best-of-space-station-science-images-2023/

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      Wolff also noted that the GV program includes field campaigns (e.g., IMPACTS and Marquette, a five-year mini campaign conducted in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS)­). He also discussed the new S-band radar network in Canada that offers access to high-quality radar data at relatively high latitudes over both land and sea. This data will be used as part of the VN for evaluation of GPM products. He concluded by discussing the Global Hydrometeorology Resource Center (GHRC) that archives past and current field campaign data and provides data quality control, metadata, campaign descriptions, and digital object identifier (DOI) assignments for each instrument/sensor.
      Andrea Portier [GSFC—GPM Mission Applications Lead] and Dorian Janney [GSFC—GPM Outreach Coordinator] reflected on the 2022–2023 applications and outreach efforts and also discussed upcoming activities, including the – at the time of the meeting – upcoming tenth anniversary of the GPM Mission in February 2024. The applications team continues its focus on increasing awareness and use of GPM data and products across communities through user-engagement activities, including workshops (e.g., Applying Earth Observation Data for Research and Applications in Sustainable Development held at the 2022 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, CA), trainings (e.g., 2023 GPM Mentorship Program), GPM application case studies, and GPM visualizations. A continuing and integral part of GPM outreach efforts is the numerous activities that reach hundreds of students and adults in a variety of formal and informal settings. This includes cooperative efforts with NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) and hands-on activities at events (e.g., the Earth Day celebration at the Washington, DC’s Union Station). (To read more about the 2023 Earth Day celebration at Union Station, see A Pale Blue Dot in Washington: NASA’s Earth Day Celebration at Union Station, in the July–August 2023 issue of The Earth Observer [Volume 35, Issue 4, pp. 4–12].)
      Many of these efforts will be highlighted and amplified during GPM’s tenth anniversary celebration. The GPM Applications and Outreach Team’s planning for the anniversary is underway. The intent is to highlight the vast capabilities of the GPM Mission and how GPM data can be used to address societal applications and improve the understanding of Earth’s water and energy cycles through a series of activities and resources starting in February 2024. These efforts include a reception at GSFC Visitor’s Center, a year-long monthly webinar series, feature articles, applications eBook, and a GPM video, among others. Details of these efforts will be posted through the GPM website.
      JAXA
      Takuji Kubota [JAXA—JAXA GPM Program Scientist] provided an update and a review of the PMM program status and mission objectives. He emphasized that this update included the perspectives of the Japanese PMM Science Program Management Team, including their roles in the development of DPR and its algorithms, GV, GPM data processing, and GPM data distribution systems. He also gave an update on current activities related to GPM data utilization and application across Japan and Asia. Kubota continued by describing the potential impacts on the DPR instrument because of the proposed orbit boost, noting that the instrument footprints and swath widths will increase proportionately with altitude change accompanied by a slight reduction in radar sensitivity. JAXA is preparing for these impacts with revised codes for L1 algorithms and planning for external calibrations before and after the orbit boost to examine calibrations of the DPR. Kubota also discussed the reprocessing of JAXA’s Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) data product (essentially the JAXA equivalent of IMERG) to enable a longer-term precipitation dataset, highlighting its completion in September 2023. GSMaP data is now available back to January 1998. Kubota discussed the future of Japanese precipitation measurements including: Earth Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE), scheduled for launch in 2024; Global Observing SATellite for Greenhouse gases and Water cycle (OSAT-GW), planned for launch NET 2024; Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR) series, which currently includes AMSR2 on the (GCOM-W) and will include AMSR3 on GOSAT-GW; and the previously discussed ESO AOS mission. He concluded with a discussion of JAXA’s plan for observing and celebrating GPM’s tenth anniversary.
      Yukari Takayabu [University of Tokyo—JAXA GPM Project Scientist] highlighted results from recent science studies using DPR and GSMaP data products from the JAXA assembled GPM Program Science Team. She noted the use of DPR for extracting high-altitude precipitation information over Africa, capturing low-level precipitation statistics near the center of typhoons, narrowing the blind zone of the DPR to improve shallow precipitation detection in mountainous areas, validation studies of DPR, and retrieving frozen precipitation data using DPR. She concluded her presentation with highlights of GSMaP use for several applications, including the new GSMaP validation work in Japan to observe extreme rainfall, improvements to GSMaP through data-driven approaches, and data assimilation of GSMaP into the JAXA Realtime Weather Watch system.
      Nobuhiro Takahashi [Nagoya University] presented an overview of significant updates to the DPM algorithm since the last PMM ST meeting, including changes in the latest V07 processing to accommodate the full-swath Ka-band operations – see Figure 1. He emphasized the impacts on the planning and development of V08 DPR algorithm with respect to the GPM orbit boost (described in George Huffman’s presentation). He noted that the major impacts to the performance of DPR include a degradation of measurement sensitivity and the “rain/no rain” classification. Takahashi concluded by saying that the release of V08 is expected in January 2026.
      Figure 1. Evaluation of DPR product improvements from V06 to V07. Dual frequency product has smaller bias than KuPR product. The correlation coefficient improved from V06 to V07.Figure credit: Nobuhiro Takahashi/Nagoya University Kosuke Yamamoto [Earth Observation Research Center (EORC) and JAXA] summarized application activities initiated by the JAXA GPM Program Science Team. He discussed the use of GSMaP precipitation data to support and enhance several application areas, e.g., the operational use of GSMaP for flood and severe weather forecasting as well as the use of GSMaP in operational systems, including the JAXA Agro-meteorology Information Provision System (JASMIN), ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS), and the Japanese’ Coast Guard’s Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) initiative. Yamamoto also discussed the 2022 Japan–Australia–India–U.S. (QUAD) Joint Leaders’ Meeting Tackling Extreme Precipitation Events Workshop, an online event that took place March 1–3, 2023, and associated workshop reports focusing on the utilization of satellite observations across Pacific Islands.
      GPM Algorithm Updates
      Presenters during this session provided information and updates on various aspects of the five major algorithms of GPM. Full documentation and detailed updates for each algorithm are available at the Precipitation Data Directory.
      Dual Frequency Radar Algorithm
      The DPR algorithm team provided updates on DPR-related work, including the further refinement of the path-integrated attenuation (PIA) estimates used in the surface reference technique (SRT). They examined the effects of using the new AutoSnow algorithm – which uses satellite snowfall observations to create snowfall maps – on PIA estimations and changes in the surface type classification. Overall, the changes were small on the estimated precipitation profiles. Other algorithm refinements include the addition of a dry and wet snow category and wind speed. The team is currently examining how to recover Ka-band attenuation from the Ku-band. They stressed that results from this analysis are preliminary, and more work is needed to assess the utility of this technique. Finally, the team is discussing the implications of the GPM orbit boost on the DPR algorithm.
      GPM Combined Radar–Radiometer Algorithm
      The GPM Combined Radar–Radiometer Algorithm (CORRA) team discussed the changes and improvements to the CORRA V07 algorithm over the previous version. They highlighted the new AutoSnow algorithm and its impacts within CORRA V07. The team also examined the impact of the precipitation particle size distribution (PSD) initial assumptions on the estimation of snowfall as well as a machine-learning based initialization approach that improves the agreement between CORRA and NOAA’s Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor System (MRMS) snow estimates. In addition, the team continues to examine a radiometer-only module to estimate light precipitation over oceans. This module will be included in the next version (V08) of CORRA. The team is also looking at the consequences of the GPM orbit boost.
      Goddard Profiling Algorithm for GMI
      The Goddard Profiling Algorithm (GPROF) team continues to work on well-known issues. The V07 update includes improvements in the a priori database to help constrain outputs from GPM constellation radiometers as well as inclusion of the radiometers on TROPICS and NASA’s Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems–Demonstration (TEMPEST-D). The two new neural network-based implementations of GPROF in V08 are anticipated in roughly a year. The team reported that they have no issues with the GPM orbit boost.
      Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM Algorithm
      The IMERG algorithm team reported on V07, which includes a wide range of algorithm changes from V06. V07 includes retrospective reprocessing of the entire TRMM–GPM record and thus supersedes all previous versions. The team also reported that the algorithm changes improve the performance of IMERG estimates both in terms of its precipitation detection and systematic and random bias. The presenters noted improvements over frozen, orographic, and coastal surfaces. The team is now working on priority items that need completing in order to implement V08.
      Convective–Stratiform Heating Algorithm
      The GSFC Convective–Stratiform Heating (CSH) algorithm team provided an overview on latent heating (LH) retrievals. The presentation highlighted some of the details in updating to V07, including more accurate cloud-resolving model (CRM) simulations (using 3D domain rather than two-dimensional) and new detailed radiation retrievals. V07 is also “terrain aware,” meaning that the algorithm includes added details of radiative heating profiles and eddy transport terms. For V08, the CSH team plans to have a new 3D CRM database with a grid size of 250 m (820 ft) and look-up tables (LUTs) for non-surface raining columns for the tropical/summertime part of the algorithm as well as LUTs for terrain. These V08 improvements are still in development as of this meeting.
      Science Results and Data Quality
      A large component of the meeting was dedicated to presentations by NASA PMM-funded Principal Investigator (PI) teams on the science research and applications being achieved using PMM data. PI oral presentations were divided into four thematically focused topical sessions: Precipitation Microphysics, Snow and Hail, Storm Analysis, and Data Uncertainty. The subsections that follow highlight scientific results from each of these sessions. The reader is referred to the full reports online for more details.
      Precipitation Microphysics
      Presenters during this session described various techniques and new methodologies to study microphysical properties of precipitation including shape and size of precipitation particles (e.g., drop size distribution (DSD)), phase identification (e.g., liquid, solid, and mixed phase/melting), scattering properties, and precipitation rate, using both radar and radiometer observations. These property measurements play a pivotal role in improving precipitation retrieval algorithms, allowing scientists and decision makers to better understand and forecast storms.
      One presenter in this session discussed new methods for classifying different types of precipitation (e.g., rain, graupel, hail, and dry and wet snow) using DPR precipitation retrievals. The new technique will be implemented into the V08 DPR algorithm. The discussion also covered a technique to establish relationships between GMI brightness temperature and hydrometeor type (e.g., rain, snow, graupel, and hail), leveraging the GPM validation network to construct LUTs of hydrometeor type likelihood – see Figure 2. Another presenter introduced a model to understand how DSD changes near the surface can be used to estimate rainfall rate. The last presenter in this session discussed the development of a precipitation scattering property database—which includes scattering characteristics of about 10,000 different types of ice particles. The database includes scattering cross sections calculated in thousands of orientations for each type of particle. This database is accessible to the public, which helps support the development of physically based scattering calculations and improvement of precipitation retrieval algorithms for both radar and radiometers.
      Figure 2. A technique for retrieving hydrometeor information from GMI brightness temperature. In these RGB plots, snow and rain are combined into one category (green), while the individual probabilities are retained in the lookup tables.Figure credit: Dan Cecil/NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Snow and Hail
      In this session, speakers discussed a broad move toward satellite retrievals for frozen hydrometeors, not just to identify bulk effects (e.g. snow or hail accumulation at the surface), but also to gather information on physical properties of frozen hydrometeors (e.g., where hailstones reside within clouds or what shapes snowflakes take). Understanding frozen hydrometeor properties can significantly improve precipitation and latent heat estimates that are essential for numerical weather forecasting and climate model development.
      One speaker applied a method that used DPR and GMI observations to estimate frozen precipitation particle properties for an Olympic Mountain Experiment (OLYMPEX) field campaign case. The results he showed indicated a significant difference in the shapes of snowflakes between land and sea. Another speaker detailed the use of a simple machine learning framework trained on measurements of the use of snowfall and cloud type observations from the CloudSat Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) to infer surface snowfall from GMI microwave measurements. Other presenters conveyed the results of a study examining different potential indicators of hail within the GPM database. These hail indicators were mapped, and the mean vertical profiles of radar reflectivity and storm structure were contrasted. The final pair of presentations focused on detecting hail in South America and Africa. In South America, hail-producing storms were shown to be strongly linked to local topography – in contrast to hotspots of hail in the U.S. Meanwhile, in Africa, new algorithms for identifying hail in GPM data suggest hail should be common – but this outcome is at odds with ground truth observations. This test case is being used to develop new methods for retrieving hail that include analyzing horizontal profile information within the data.
      Storm Analysis
      Presenters in this session discussed a variety of applications and assessments of PMM products for analyzing a variety of storms, particularly their cloud, precipitation, and kinematic structures and their structural evolution. The first speaker compared precipitation events simulated in IMERG to the same event with rain gauge observations. They found that while IMERG missed many winter precipitation events in mountainous regions –which rain gauges typically can measure – IMERG also captured summer virga events – which rain gauges typically miss. Another presenter compared IMERG to river catchment and integrated watershed observations and found that IMERG overestimated small precipitation events but underestimated large events. The next presenter showed a comparison IMERG simulations to the multi-instrument MRMS dataset during the lifecycle of precipitation events. The results shown suggest that IMERG errors in precipitation intensity could be improved by inputting other variables (e.g., ice water path or vertical velocity) into the precipitation retrievals. The discussions during this session also covered other plans to use PMM products to study convection in atmospheric river events, in combination with a modeling analysis using different convection schemes. The final pair of presenters spoke about understanding convective-scale drivers of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone ascent and widening the use of a simple prognostic model that will use PMM data for filling terms in the model. One model weakness is the decay term for the convection cloud shield, which, if determined, could reduce error in climate models, particularly with radiative processes. The final speaker used TRMM Visible and Infrared Scanner (VIRS) data to develop and test a method for identifying and classifying cloud areas (i.e., core, midrange extent, and outer bound split window testing) and determine their relationships to other environmental variables, such as sea surface temperatures and column water vapor.
      Data Uncertainty
      Presenters during this session discussed new methodologies to address data uncertainties and bias in precipitation retrievals to improve precipitation estimates for science and applications research. Two of the presenters delved into the details of how the GPROF algorithm has inherent precipitation biases due to different hydrometeor characteristics captured by GMI passive microwave brightness temperature – which may be related to thermodynamic environments. Another PI presented updates for improving uncertainty estimates to enhance hydrological prediction. Specifically, he discussed multiscale precipitation uncertainties in precipitation products, including a new product that combines the Space-Time Rainfall Error and Autocorrelation Model (STREAM) with single-orbit rainfall estimates from the combined GPM data product, called STREAM-Sat. He explained how the uncertainties in these products can influence hydrologic prediction. The session concluded with a discussion of machine learning methods to estimate the probability distribution of uncertainties in passive microwave precipitation retrievals at different temporal and spatial scales.
      Discussion of Future Missions, Observations, and Activities Relevant to GPM
      This session featured presentations on several other existing and upcoming missions in various stages of development, as well presentations covering the future of precipitation instruments and observations, each with applications relevant to GPM. Each presentation included information on plans to advance and support precipitation science in the near term and the coming decade, as described below.
      TROPICS
      The TROPICS Pathfinder CubeSat mission provides microwave observations of tropical cyclones with less than a 60-minute revisit time to capture better storm dynamics and improve forecasting. The Pathfinder has demonstrated all mission elements and provided new tropical cyclone imagery (12,000+ orbits and counting). The Cal/Val team hopes to release the data to the public in Fall 2023. (UPDATE: Provisional TROPICS data was released in January 2024.) The TROPICS pathfinder satellite showed that the compact TROPICS design performs comparably to the state-of-the-art sounders. Lessons learned will help the TROPICS Team as they work to improve efforts and operate the TROPICS constellation, which now holds a total of five satellites.
      AOS
      As discussed in Will McCarty’s remarks, AOS is a key component of the Earth System Observatory that was recommended in the 2017 Decadal Survey. The mission will deliver transformative observations fundamental to understanding coupled aerosol– and cloud–precipitation processes that profoundly impact weather, climate, and air quality. Two AOS projects are in the mission concept and technology development phase (Phase-A): AOS-Storm (to launch late 2020s), with a Ku Doppler radar, microwave radiometers, and backscatter lidar in a 55° inclined orbit; and AOS-Sky (to launch early 2030s) with cloud-profiling Doppler radar, backscatter lidar, microwave radiometer, polarimeter, far infrared (IR) radiometer, and aerosol and moisture limb sounders in polar orbit. (This paragraph reflects what was discussed during the meeting, however, AOS is undergoing changes that will be reflected on the website at a later date.)
      GPM Microwave Radiometer Constellation in the Next Decade
      The future passive microwave radiometer constellation looks robust, with multiple sensors to be launched in the next decade. Small/CubeSat constellations are becoming a reality, and a plan to incorporate them quickly into the overall precipitation constellation is needed. A point of emphasis was that a sensor in an inclined orbit is a necessity when it comes to providing a reference measurement to support this effort – see Figure 3.
      Figure 3. Evaluation of passive microwave (PMW) frequencies and coverage to assess data gaps and needs for the future of precipitation constellation.Figure credit: Rachael Kroodsma/GSFC JAXA Precipitation Measuring Mission (JAXA PMM) Radar
      Plans call for JAXA’s next generation of precipitation radar to be deployed as part of the agency’s future Precipitating Measuring Mission (PMM – yes, the same acronym as the Precipitation Measurement Mission). Objectives for this next-generation precipitation radar include Doppler observations, higher sensitivity measurements, and scanning capability. JAXA has collaborated with a Japanese science team and user community to explore the feasibility of a next-generation, dual-frequency precipitation radar. The discussion focused on the importance of measuring convection through Doppler velocities from spaceborne radar. The EarthCARE mission will feature the first Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) with Doppler capability in space. JAXA has participated in NASA’s AOS Pre-Phase A activities. The synergy between the GPM DPR and PMM/KuDPR is expected to contribute to the construction of a longer-term precipitation dataset by providing overlapping observations.
      Update on Cloud Services at NASA GES DISC
      NASA’s Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (GES DISC), one of two data archive centers for GPM, is moving its data archive to the cloud – with all GES DISC data and services remaining free to all users. This will offer quick access to and subsetting capability for a large volume of data through multiple data access methods (e.g., Amazon Simple Storage Service) and cloud services. Multidisciplinary NASA data will be in one place – the Earthdata Cloud – and available for online analysis and in the cloud environment. Expanded services (e.g., access to the Common Metadata Repository–SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (CMR-STAC), Harmony – a collective Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) effort to make data access more consistent and easier across all DAACs and Zarr – a data format designed to store compressed multidimensional arrays and thus well suited to cloud computing) are expected to be implemented in the near future. With the migration of GES DISC data to the cloud, some services may look different with details on the exact changes to services coming soon.
      GPM Core Observatory Boost
      As George Huffman discussed in his presentation, based on forecasted solar activity, the GPM Core Observatory could run out of fuel as early as October 2025 if the current orbit altitude is maintained. To prolong its operations, NASA and JAXA have decided to boost the GPM Core Observatory orbit by ~35 km (~22 mi), which places GPM at an altitude of ~435 km (~270 mi)) – placing it above the International Space Station orbital altitude. The post-boost operations of the satellite are expected to continue through the early 2030s. The boost is expected to last only 2–4 days and occur in the time window between November 2023 and March 2024 (likely November 7–9, 2023, as stated above), the boost will permanently change the sensors’ Field of Views (FOVs) and likely cause a gap of several months in DPR product delivery.
      Precipitation in 2040
      Sarah Ringerud [GSFC] and George Huffman led this plenary discussion that explored two questions: What comes next? and What does the cutting edge of precipitation science look like 20 years from now? CubeSats, reduced volume of low-frequency-channel observations, shorter sensor lifetimes, increased sampling, and calibration challenges are recognized as inevitable. Exciting new developments are seen in the opportunity for data fusion and interdisciplinary work. Interagency and private sector collaborations are foreseen as critical points for maintaining optimal monitoring of Earth precipitation.
      Conclusion
      The 2023 PMM STM brought together scientists from around the world to engage on a range of topics that advance the understanding of precipitation science, algorithms, and contributions to applications. The STM highlighted updates and activities enabled by the PMM scientific community. The closing session provided an opportunity for quick updates from precipitation working group members, who held splinter sessions. These updates were followed by an open discussion and review of PMM action items led by George Huffman. He reminded PMM STM participants of several important and noteworthy items, including updates on the orbit boost and subsequent algorithm adjustments, which will be available on the GPM website and be at the forefront for the project for the next six months; V08 of GPM data products are anticipated by early 2026; the budget reduction for the project – but not for current ROSES projects – will impact activities, including next year’s PMM STM; and the next NASA ROSES call might have a different package of opportunities, not strictly focused on PMM/GPM. He concluded by encouraging the PMM ST to share highlights and publications with the GPM Science Program Management Team as well as to continue to initiate collaborations with other colleagues to keep pushing the boundaries of science and outreach.
      The next PMM STM will likely be held in September 2024. Details will be posted on the GPM website once they become available.
      Acknowledgements The author would like to recognize the following individuals, all of whom made contributions to this article: Ali Behrangi [University of Arizona], Anthony Didlake [Penn State University], Gerry Heymsfield [GSFC], George Huffman [GSFC], Matthew Igel [University of California Davis], Toshio Iguchi [Osaka University], Dorian Janney [GSFC/ADNET Systems], Chuntao Liu [Texas A&M Corpus Christi], Veljko Petkovic [UMD], Courtney Schumacher [Texas A&M Corpus Christi], and Joe Turk [NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory].
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Earth Observer Earth and Climate Earth Observer Home Editor’s Corner Feature Articles News In Memoriams Science in the News More Meeting Summaries Archives 16 min read
      Summary of the 2023 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
      Severine Fournier, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, severine.fournier@jpl.nasa.gov
      Joshua Willis, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, joshua.k.willis@jpl.nasa.gov
      Introduction
      The annual Ocean Surface Topography (OST) Science Team Meeting (STM) provides a forum for the international altimetry community to foster collaboration, address specific issues, and highlight scientific results and applications every year. The meeting location alternates between Europe and the U.S. The 2023 meeting was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from November 7–11, 2023. About 130 registrants from more than a dozen different countries attended the meeting.  
      During this meeting the OST Science Team addressed specific technical issues related to the reference altimetry missions, which include the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX)–Poseidon (1992–2006), Jason-1 (2001–2013), Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 (2008–2019), Jason-3 (2016–present), and Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich (S6MF; 2020–present) missions. There was also discussion about the upcoming Sentinel-6B mission (scheduled for launch in 2025), which will be a successor to S6MF. The technical issues addressed included algorithm and model improvement, calibration/validation (cal/val) activities, merging TOPEX–Poseidon–Jason–S6MF data with those from other altimetric satellites, initial results from the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission (2022–present), and preparation for future OST missions (e.g., Sentinel-6B).
      The remainder of this article provides an overview of the meeting content, then presents an update on the status of current and planned OST missions, followed by a summary of the opening plenary and a couple of the most relevant science highlights from the splinter sessions. More details are available in the full report from the OST STM. The full OST STM program lists all of the presentations from the plenary, splinter, and poster sessions as well as links to many of the presentations and abstracts for the posters.
      Meeting Overview
      The meeting began with an opening plenary session, followed by an invited presentation, a series of splinter sessions, and a closing plenary session. The splinter session topics spanned a variety of algorithm improvements and measurement uncertainties, as well as sessions on coastal altimetry, the Chinese–French Oceanography Satellite (CFOSAT) mission (2019–present), and science topics ranging from climate and oceanography to hydrology and cryosphere science. A complete list of splinters is available online. Some of these are described in more detail in the sections that follow.
      Status Report on Current OST Missions
      This section reports on the status of several current and planned OST-related satellite missions. Each is described in its own subsection.
      Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich
      S6MF, launched on November 21, 2020, from Vandenberg Space Force Base, successfully completed its commissioning and subsequent entry into routine operations on schedule, one year later. S6MF succeeded Jason-3 as the Reference Mission (i.e., the mission that other altimetry missions are compared to) on April 7, 2022, at which point Jason-3 vacated the reference orbit. The first full mission reprocessing of products was released in July 2022, and another full reprocessing was completed in July 2023.
      Jason-3
      Jason-3, launched on January 17, 2016, continues its extended mission and is fully operational with all redundant systems available. It completed a longer than initially planned 15-month tandem phase with S6MF, which allowed for calibrations of both the primary and redundant instruments. On April 25, 2022, it began operations in an orbit that optimally interleaves ground tracks with S6MF. A second tandem phase with S6MF has been requested for early 2025. The second tandem phase aims to place an uncertainty bound on any long-term drift between the two missions.
      Copernicus Copernicus Sentinel-3A and -3B
      Sentinel-3A and -3B are identical satellites that were launched in February 16, 2016 and April 25, 2018, respectively. Similar to past missions in the reference orbit, a tandem phase with a separation of 30 seconds between the two satellites was performed to provide cross-calibration. Subsequently, Sentinel-3B was placed in a nominal orbit 140° out of phase with Sentinel-3A. Both missions now provide sea level measurements along high inclination tracks as part of their routine operations. A full mission reprocessing of land altimetry Level-2 (L2) products was completed in 2023.
      Copernicus Sentinel-6B and 6C Missions and Beyond
      Identical to S6MF, Sentinel-6B is planned as its successor. The spacecraft and instrument have been completed and is now in storage awaiting launch in 2025. Sentinel-6B will assure operational continuity through the end of 2030. An additional satellite, Sentinel-6C, is under consideration by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Centre National d’Études Spatiale (CNES) [French Space Agency] to continue observations through 2035.
      Surface Water Ocean Topography
      SWOT launched on December 16, 2022. The primary instrument on SWOT, Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIn), is the first space-borne, wide-swath altimetry instrument, capable of high-resolution measurements of the water height in the ocean and freshwater bodies. After commissioning and initial calibration, beta products became available to the science team in August 2023. The first images from SWOT were released, and the first results are showing great promise for the instrument capabilities (see NASA and CNES news).
      Discussion of Future Missions Relevant to OST
      The meeting continued with presentations on several existing and upcoming missions in various stages of development, each with applications relevant to OST. Each presentation included information on the mission’s status and development plans, as described below.
      Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL)
      Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) is one of six, high-priority candidate Copernicus Sentinel Expansion missions that are being studied to address the European Union’s needs, as well as to extend the current capabilities of the Copernicus space components. CRISTAL will carry a multifrequency radar altimeter and microwave radiometer to ensure continuity and improve the quality of sea ice thickness measurements compared to its predecessor, Cryosat-2, and provide the first space-based measurements of overlying snow depth.
      Recommendations from the OST Science Team
      After discussing these missions and other issues concerning altimetry, the OST STM adopted several recommendations to particular topics relating to these missions, which are named and described in the subsections that follow:
      S6MF Extended Operations Phase Orbit.  
      In light of that fact that user needs remain very high for altimetry observations complementary to the reference mission, the OST ST recommends extending operations of S6MF – assuming it remains in good health – beyond the time when Sentinel-6B has become the reference mission. Specifically, the OST ST recommends:
      Moving S6MF to an exact repeat orbit with the same characteristics as the reference orbit – except for a phase difference of 163° along the orbit, either ahead or behind Sentinel-6B – resulting in an interleaved ground-track to the reference orbit. (For reference, Jason-3 currently flies 163° behind S6MF.) Adopting the same data availability requirements as expressed in the End-User Requirements Document (EURD) (R-U- 00460/490/500/515/520/570/573/576) for the extended operations phase of S6MF, with the understanding that Sentinel-6B operations will be prioritized over S6MF. Jason-3 Orbit Change.
      The OST ST endorses the current plan to move Jason-3 to a Long Repeat Orbit (LRO) immediately after the conclusion of second tandem with S6MF. This 371-nodal-day LRO should be the same as the one occupied by Jason-2. The first two LRO cycles should be phased such that Jason-3 will interleave the two Jason-2 LRO cycles, each shifted by 2 km (1.2 mi). This will result in a systematic 2-km global grid combining Jason-2 and Jason-3 LRO data. The OST ST also recommends two additional LRO cycles that revisit the Jason-2 LRO ground tracks to fill in gaps and reduce mean sea surface errors. 
      Climate Quality Accuracy in Future Mission 
      To achieve accuracy in global and regional sea level change as detailed in the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) requirements, the OST ST noted that it will be necessary to maintain and continue to improve the accuracy of orbital determination systems, such as those achieved using a combination of three tracking systems – Satellite Laser Ranging [SLR], Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), and Global Navigation Satellite System [GNSS]). The OST ST has demonstrated that these tracking systems are necessary to achieve maximum accuracy on the determination of regional sea level trends and strongly recommends that such accuracy be maintained in the design of Sentinel-6C. The OST ST also noted that accuracy of the Climate Data Record requires continued maintenance or improvement of the terrestrial reference frame, which also relies on these tracking systems. Finally, requirements on other aspects of the altimetric measurement system must also be maintained or continue to improve. 
      Synergies with Argo and GRACE 
      Argo (which is an international fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and measure the temperature and salinity of the ocean) plays a critical role in collecting data related to numerous cross-cutting, climate-related science topics important to altimetry measurements (missions discussed earlier in this article), to gravity measurements [e.g., the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE-Follow-On missions], and to broader science communities. The recent implementation of the Deep Argo mission has rapidly expanded observations of the ocean below 2000 m (~6500 ft). Data collected at these depths has helped to resolve questions about variations of temperature and salinity over the full depth of the ocean and to close regional and global sea level budgets. The OST ST recommends substantially increasing support for the OneArgo Program (which has been part of Argo’s design plan since 2020), including adding resources to expand the array to include global implementation of Deep Argo and increase coverage by Core Argo (the fleet of shallower floats) in polar regions and marginal seas. 
      Altimetry Product Evolution 
      OST ST recommends that agencies study the performance of the three latency products – Near Real-Time (NRT), Short Time-Critical (STC), and Non-Time Critical (NTC) – to ensure each continues to meet user needs or determine if their performance and latencies be redefined or adjusted. This should be considered across all platforms. 
      Potential Gap between CryoSat-2 and CRISTAL 
      The OST ST recommends studies to address which satellites, airborne operations, or other assets might help fulfill scientific needs for high-latitude ocean and ice elevation measurements during a potential gap between CryoSat-2 and CRISTAL. The OST ST also recommends minimizing the probability of a gap by extending CryoSat-2 operations through at least 2028 and avoiding delays in the launch of CRISTAL to the extent possible. 
      Integrity of the Altimetry Constellation and Instrument Function 
       In light of ongoing efforts to launch a large number of communications satellites in orbits close to the 1336 km (830 mi) altimetry constellation, the OST ST recommends that agencies take steps to determine and establish sufficient margins that will safeguard altimetry missions in both reference and polar orbits from collision, debris, and interference with their passive and active instruments.
      Opening Plenary Session Highlights
      Severine Fournier [NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)] began with welcoming remarks on behalf of all of the project scientists, who (in addition to herself) include Josh Willis [NASA/JPL], Pascal Bonnefond [CNES], Eric Leuliette [NOAA], Remko Scharroo [EUMETSAT], and Alejandro Egido [ESA]. In particular, Fournier reminded the participants of the addition of online forums, available until the next OST STM that can be accessed after logging into the site. In addition, Fournier announced that Egido will replace Craig Donlon as the ESA Project Scientist.
      Program managers gave presentations on the status of altimetry and oceanographic programs at their respective institutions including: Nadya Vinogradova-Shiffer [NASA Headquarters], Annick Sylvestre-Baron [CNES], Estelle Obligis [EUMETSAT], Eric Leuliette, and Jérôme Bouffard [ESA].
      In addition, Josh Willis presented Space Stories, a think tank for U.S.-based creatives and technologists to develop new storytelling approaches to sea level rise. This initiative is organized by Garage Stories and consists of masterclasses that were held in November 2023 with 15 participants across 5 teams. The winning team will have the opportunity to present their concept at JPL in 2024.
      Finally, Fernando E. Pabón [Caribbean Center for Rising Seas—Director] spoke about climate issues that impact Puerto Rico. The island has about three million inhabitants and faces several climatic issues, including devastating impacts from hurricanes (with a hurricane season stretching over six months every year), sea level rise, and droughts. While Puerto Rico has a lot of outdated infrastructures, the territory has the most advanced regulatory environment in the Caribbeans. Pabón explained the economic, social, and geographical urgency of making good decisions to help the communities facing climatic challenges with a long-term vision. One of the goals of the Caribbean Center for Rising Seas is to work with practitioners and the public to change urban development practices, update building codes, zoning, and land-use regulations and spread the knowledge and understanding of sea level rise and flooding to the public.
      Science Highlights
      This section provides two scientifically compelling results that were shown during the splinter sessions. Complete coverage of the results shared during these sessions can be found at the website at the start of the article.
      Synergies between Argo, GRACE, and Altimetry
      Human activities are increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases, which have increased global temperature since the beginning of the twentieth century. Greenhouse gases trap energy within the Earth system. The ocean absorbs much of this excess energy in the form of heat (> 90%), acting as a huge heat reservoir. Global ocean heat content (GOHC) is therefore a key component in the Earth’s energy budget. Accurate knowledge of the GOHC change allows us to assess the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI), which refers to the difference between the amount of energy the Earth receives from the Sun and the amount of energy it radiates back into space.
      Various methodologies exist to estimate EEI from the GOHC. A 2022 article in Earth System Science Data describes the space geodetic approach, which relies on satellite altimetry and gravimetry measurements. Satellite altimetry is used to measure sea level rise, which is caused by both the expansion of warming ocean waters and the addition of freshwater to the ocean from melting land ice (Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and mountain glaciers). Gravimetric measurements are used to measure ocean mass change, which can be used to estimate the contribution to sea level rise from freshwater ice melt on land. By combining gravimetry and altimetry, it is possible to estimate the thermal expansion of the entire ocean and scale it to estimate EEI – see Figure 1. The magnitude of EEI is small (0.5–1.0 W/m2) compared to the total amount of energy entering and leaving the climate system (~340 W/m2). Therefore, a high level of precision and accuracy are required to estimate the EEI mean (2) and its time variations at decadal scales (2). In this regard, the space geodetic approach emerges as a promising candidate capable of complementing other observing system elements aimed at measuring EEI.
      Figure 1. This graph shows the decadal variations of the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) estimated from the space geodetic method that combines altimetry and gravimetric measurements (black) and direct measurements of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument (blue). The grey shaded area corresponds to the space geodetic method’s uncertainty. Image credit: Michael Ablain/Collect Localisation Services (CLS), France Large-scale Ocean Circulation Variability and Change
      The year-to-year circulation changes along the coast of the western U.S. can have significant impact on the transport of nutrients that affect fisheries. A 2021 article published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography described a study that used ocean currents derived from satellite altimetry to understand the trajectory of water masses from the southern coast of California to the Pacific Northwest. The results show that after a year, subtropical/tropical water masses can reach the Oregon coast from the Southern California Bight (30 °N), and in multiple years from even further south (~26 °N–27 °N) and west. During warmer than average years associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (1997–1998, 2002–2003, 2004–2005, 2005–2006, 2009–2010, 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017), these subtropical/tropical waters masses reached further north compared to other years – see Figure 2. This shift is due to the increase poleward wind stress observed in the California Current. The research team also showed that these tropical warm waters tend to transport “warm water” zooplankton species with a lower fat content. The shift in zooplankton species can impact the young salmon population, which prefer fatty cold-water zooplankton, entering the ocean off the Oregon coast.
      Figure 2. This graph shows the density of the water mass traveling northward from the tropics and sub-tropics toward the Pacific Northwest coast during [first three panels] the average of Warm Years (1997–1998, 2002–2003, 2004–2005, 2005–2006, 2009–2010, 2014–2015, 2015–2016, 2016–2017) for January, February, and March, and [last three panels] normal, or Other Years (remaining 15 years excluded from the ‘warm year episodes’ between 1997–2020) for January, February, and March. Off the coast of Oregon, warm water masses are denser during warm years. Image credit: Ted Strub/Oregon State University Closing Plenary Session Highlights
      The closing plenary session included discussions, notably about the key points that were addressed during the opening session and splinter sessions.
      Cristina Martin-Puig [EUMETSAT] gave a presentation on the definition of the new Geophysical Data Record (GDR) standards (GDR-G) in a multimission context. There are currently 11 altimeters operating with data quality that continues to undergo improvement. While agencies have been coordinating to homogenize processing baselines across missions, a full harmonization between missions was never discussed in detail until now. All agencies are now working in full collaboration to define a set of common standards and the best data processing practices to ensure full harmony between missions.
      Conclusion
      During the closing session, the OST ST adopted several recommendations – see “Recommendations from the OST Science Team” above for details.
      The OST STM expressed strong support for the continuation of the joint Indo–French Satellite AltiKa (SARAL) drifting period for as long as possible, with its altimeter being the most important for future improvements in mean sea surface and gravity.
      The OST STM ended with acknowledgements and kudos, several of which refer to recommendations made by the OST ST. The team expressed its appreciation to NASA and CNES for the successful launch and commissioning of the SWOT mission and its revolutionary new wide-swath altimeter for ocean and surface water. Additional acknowledgements can be found in the full OST STM report link referenced in the introduction of this article.
      Overall, the meeting fulfilled all of its objectives. It provided a forum for updates on the status of Jason-3, S6MF, and other relevant missions and programs. It also offered detailed analyses of mission observations by the splinter groups. The team concluded that data from the Jason-3 and S6MF altimeters continue to meet the accuracy and availability requirements of the science community.
      An international altimetry meeting to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of altimetry will be held in Montpellier, France on September 2–7, 2024.
      Acknowledgment: This article is based on the official meeting report, referenced in the introduction of this article and prepared in cooperation with all of the OST STM chairs: Severine Fournier [JPL]; Josh Willis [JPL]; Pascal Bonnefond [Observatoire de Paris, Laboratoire Systèmes de Référence Temps-Espace (SYRTE)/CNES]; Eric Leuliette [NOAA]; Remko Scharroo [EUMETSAT]; and Alejandro Egido [ESA].
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      Summary of the 2023 GRACE Follow-On Science Team Meeting
      Felix Landerer, NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, felix.w.landerer@jpl.nasa.gov
      Introduction
      In October 2023, the annual gathering of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE Follow-On [G-FO] Science Team took place in Boulder, CO, hosted at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR) Center Green campus. The event had 70 in-person participant and an additional 52 online participants – see Photo. G-FO is a U.S.–German collaboration between NASA and the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) [German Research Centre for Geosciences].
      Photo: Pictured here are the in-person attendees of the 2023 GRACE-FO Science Team. Another 52 people participated online. Image credit: Felix Landerer/JPL The meeting agenda featured 15-minute presentations over three days, describing new findings from G-FO observations and the combined GRACE and GRACE-FO [G/G-FO] climate data record that now spans over 21 years (2002–2023). 
      The meeting began with the customary G-FO project status session, covering programmatic mission and flight segment technical updates, future mission plans, and descriptions of the latest data released from the GRACE Science Data System (SDS) centers. Subsequent sessions featured more than 53 contributed presentations covering analyses, algorithms, and science results by Science Team members and attendees, totaling 57 oral and 5 poster presentations. Many of the presentations are posted on the GRACE website. While this summary will cover all the content on the agenda of the meeting – it does do so in an exact linear fashion. It begins with a G-FO mission status update, followed by key highlights from the contributed analysis and science presentations.
      Status of GRACE Follow-On
      Since their launch on May 22, 2018, the twin G-FO satellites have been tracking Earth’s water movements and global surface mass changes that arise from climatic, anthropogenic, and tectonic changes. G-FO also enables new insights into variations of ice sheet and glacier mass, land water storage, as well as changes in sea level and ocean currents. These measurements have important applications and implications for everyday life. The impact of these data is underscored by the publication of over 6000 scientific papers – an average of 5 new publications per week – that have established G/G-FO as a leading Earth Science mission.
      In May 2023, G-FO successfully completed its Prime Mission phase that lasted five years after launch. G-FO was among the missions that went through the 2023 NASA Earth Science Senior Review. The NASA project team submitted its response in spring of 2023 to extend mission operations through 2026. The proposal received overall Excellent score, highlighting the unique utility the data provide for Earth Science research and societal applications. However, the G-FO project’s NASA budget will be reduced (compared to the previous baseline) by 15% in fiscal year (FY) 2024 and 24% in FY 2025 and 2026 due to the overall budget constraints that NASA is facing. The G-FO team remains confident in its ability to continue delivering high-value and high-impact science data products – prioritizing science operations management and data latency over data reprocessing campaigns. Both NASA and GFZ had already formally committed to extending their collaboration on G-FO mission operations and data processing through the end of 2026 via a Memorandum of Understanding.
      As of December 2023, the G-FO project team has processed and released 62 monthly gravity fields – the most recent being for October 2023 (at the time of this writing). The primary mission objective for G-FO is to provide continuity for the monthly GRACE mass-change observations (2002–2017) via its Microwave Interferometer (MWI) intersatellite range-change observations. G-FO also demonstrated a novel technology demonstration Laser-Ranging Interferometer (LRI) for more accurate satellite-to-satellite ranging observations for future GRACE-like missions. The LRI has been successfully operated in parallel with the MWI for most of the mission, delivering excellent quality data. LRI-based monthly gravity and mass change fields covering the period from mid-2018 to mid-2023 have been made available by the SDS teams for further analysis and study by the science community. 
      Programmatic, Mission, and Operations Updates
      The meeting began with Frank Flechtner [GFZ–German G-FO Project Manager] and Felix Landerer [NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—U.S. G-FO Project Scientist] giving welcoming remarks, followed by detailed assessments of the G-FO mission and operations status from the core SDS centers and flight operations teams.
      GRACE Follow-On Project Status
      Felix Landerer gave an overview of the G-FO satellites and the science data system performance. He reported that G-FO continues to meet its goal of extending the GRACE mass-change and gravity data record at equivalent precision and spatiotemporal sampling. 
      Since the previous STM in October 2022, the overall G-FO science instrument performance has been stable, and the SDS team continued to deliver a gapless monthly data record to users ahead of schedule (on average, within 43 days instead of the 60-day requirement). Improving the data calibrations of the accelerometer measurements – which are noise contaminated on one of the two G-FO spacecraft – remains a core focus of the project SDS team. To this end, an improved calibration approach that reduced data errors by 10–20% has been developed and will be operationalized by the team in the coming months. 
      Landerer reported that, as forecasted, the current Solar Cycle 25 has gained in strength through 2023 and will continue to do so through 2024 before subsiding again. The resulting higher non-gravitational forces acting on the satellites need to be properly accounted for in the accelerometer data processing. 
      He also noted that small thruster leaks in the satellites cold gas propulsion system have been closely monitored since 2021. To ensure stable data collection and sufficient lifetime margin to achieve continuity with the proposed successor mission GRACE-Continuity, or GRACE-C (which is the new name for the Earth System Observatory Mass Change mission scheduled for launch no earlier than 2028), the G-FO project team, in conjunction with guidance from the satellite manufacturer Airbus and the German Space Operations Center, decided to adjust the operational data collection mode of G-FO to a wide pointing mode – which means that the two spacecraft are allowed to deviate from their relative line-of-sight pointing by up to 2°, whereas the previous pointing angles were 100 times smaller. This operational change necessitates fewer thruster firings, which in turn reduces leaks and improves accelerometer calibrations – and thus leads to better overall science data quality. Due to the wide pointing, the LRI intersatellite ranging data collection has been suspended in this operational mode. However, the LRI instruments are still activated and fully functional. Landerer emphasized that reducing the leak ensures that the GRACE-FO mission will have sufficient fuel to remain operational up until GRACE-C launches.
      Despite these operational challenges, Landerer said that the science data delivered by G-FO continues to provide excellent utility and insights into a rapidly changing Earth system. He briefly highlighted a few scientific and decision-support contributions and achievements of G-FO over the last year. These included: 
      Monitoring California Groundwater. G-FO recorded the largest seasonal total water storage gains over California after the multiple atmospheric rivers made landfall during the 2022/2023 winter. Yet, peak water storage in May was below values observed 15–20 years ago – due to long-term, sustained groundwater declines. Going forward, the data will be invaluable to assess groundwater recharge rates and processes. Observing Water Cycle Extremes: Droughts and Pluvials. The G-GFO 20-year data record has been analyzed to show the increasing intensity of wet and dry extremes of the global water cycle, which increased as global temperatures rose. Tracking Polar Ice Mass Loss. G/G-FO measured net ice mass gains over Antarctica that began around 2021 due to snow accumulation mainly in East Antarctica, which offset the unabated mass loss of the West Antarctic ice sheet. Subsequent science presentations presented in-depth analyses of these and other findings in the dedicated science sessions, some of which are summarized below. 
      Landerer also highlighted the expanding portfolio of open science contributions that the project team is supporting: Jupyter notebooks are part of an expanding GRACE Open Science toolbox with the goal to expand this toolbox with input from the Science Team and user community in the coming years. In addition, easy-to-use browser data portals at JPL and GFZ have been key to expand the science and applications user community that increasingly use the Level-3 and higher data products in decision support contexts (e.g., for drought monitoring and water resources management).
      A series of status reports on programmatic G-FO mission operations, science operations, and SDS processing followed the opening presentations. Krzysztof Snopek [GFZ] reported on the ground and mission operations at the German Space Operations Center (GSOC), which is responsible for G-FO spacecraft operations. All essential flight operations, software updates, and planned calibrations were successfully scheduled and carried out by GSOC. Himanshu Save [University of Texas, Center for Space Research (CSR)] provided the science operations assessment. He described the evolving Solar Cycle 25 and its influence on the G-FO spacecraft, the mission’s fuel budget, and adjusted operational procedures and modes (such as the already-mentioned ‘wide’ pointing mode). Christopher McCullough [JPL] reviewed the status of G/G-FO Level 1 processing at JPL, detailing additional improvements made in the accelerometer calibrations. The team is using the noisy accelerometer data on one satellite and retrieving improved science information from it.
      A representative from each of the G-FO mission SDS centers – which includes JPL, GFZ, CSR, and GSFC – summarized the status of the latest gravity-field and mass change data products [RL06.X L2], including an overview of background dealiasing models and the GFZ GravIS portal, the updated JPL mascon data product, new data-processing strategies, e.g., via range acceleration [CSR], and the status of ancillary Satellite-Laser-Ranging (SLR) data processing and dedicated G/G-FO products [GSFC].
      Following the project team’s status presentations, there was a 30-minute session to answer questions from the science community and discuss in more detail the mission performance, near-term operations and data processing plans, as well as to gather suggestions and feedback from the community. 
      Science Presentations
      The remainder of the sessions in the meeting were open-submission science sessions, each of which centered around different thematic topics, including: G/G-FO analysis techniques and next generation gravity mission (NGGM) concept studies, and science analysis of mass-transport data in the fields of glaciology, oceanography, hydrology, and solid-Earth physics. As has been the case in previous years, the presenters underscored the value of interdisciplinary and multi-instrument analyses that utilize the unique complementary value of G/G-FO mass-change observations in combination with other remote sensing data (e.g., satellite altimetry or precipitation observations) and in situ data (e.g., surface deformation or ocean temperature profiles). Such hydrogeodetic combinations yield improved spatial and temporal resolutions that enable advances in Earth system process understanding, which increasingly advance societal applications of science results in support of NASA’s programmatic focus on Earth Science to Action, which seeks to “advance and integrate Earth science knowledge to empower humanity to create a more resilient world.”
      Section A: GRACE and GRACE-FO Geodesy
      The project status reports presented under the previous heading were part of the first section of the agenda (Session A1) as were two additional sessions: Analysis Techniques and Intercomparisons (Session A2) and NGGM and Bridging the Gap (Session A3), which focused on plans, concepts, and technologies being developed for future gravity missions. Highlights from each of these two sessions follow in the next two subsections. 
      Analysis Techniques and Inter-comparisons
      This session featured 15 presentations by the SDS centers and ST members on progress in instrument data calibrations and novel data processing algorithms and methods, including data-fusion with other observations.
      Representatives from G/G-FO processing centers presented updated gravity-field time-series data, which capitalize on improved parameterizations, better instrument error characterizations (e.g., from star cameras, accelerometers, or ranging instruments) and background models (e.g., for tides) for improved monthly mass change data and uncertainty quantification. The highly accurate LRI data provides further opportunities to identify and characterize measurement system errors, which can be exploited for G-FO data processing but is also informative in the development of the future GRACE-C mission. However, it was also shown that several metrics used in identifying gravitational errors are sensitive to the estimated satellite trajectory, and consequently a sufficient understanding of the orbital trajectory is necessary to make accurate adjustments to the gravity field based on satellite observations.
      The G/G-FO data products make use of ground-based geodetic observations, such as satellite laser-ranging (SLR) to a network of dedicated SLR satellites, which can be used to extend the G/G-FO interannual data record back to ~1994 – albeit at a much-reduced spatial resolution. Additionally, SLR data provide an important validation and performance assessment opportunity for G/G-FO observations. In that regard one presenter showed results indicating the recent G-FO accelerometer updates have indeed resulted in better gravity and mass change fields. Other speakers discussed the value and potential for improvement that could be achieved by combining G-FO and SLR observations more formally to exploit the data strengths of the different observation types in an optimal way. Such approaches could reduce uncertainties in global ocean and land ice mass changes. Furthermore, deployment of stable, long-term ocean bottom pressure (OBP) recorders in the Arctic Ocean in 2022 has enabled progress on G/G-FO OBP data validation. The data from these OBP recorders are entirely independent of G/G-FO observations and are thus very valuable to assess the satellite data record. An initial comparison between 1.5 years of OBP data and various G-FO OBP products suggest excellent agreement.
      The data collected from G/G-FO has a native resolution of about 300 km (~186 mi). By jointly analyzing these G/G-FO data with higher-resolution surface elevation changes from a multimission synthesis of radar and laser satellite altimeters, net mass changes can be effectively downscaled (within a Bayesian framework) to less than 20 km (~12 mi) resolution, which is sufficiently high resolution to resolve individual ice streams in Antarctica that cannot be separated using G/G-FO data alone.
      NGGM and Bridging the Gap 
      The presenters in this session provided status-update on the GRACE-C mission, a joint project between NASA and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) [German Aerospace Center], as well as on future instrument developments and mission concepts. 
      The 2017 NASA Earth Science Decadal Survey Report highlighted mass-transport monitoring through gravity change as one of five designated observables (i.e., top priorities for study) in Earth observations for the next decade in collaboration with international partners. The GRACE-C project successfully passed the NASA/JPL Mission Concept Review in June 2022, and the NASA Key Decision Point B review in September 2023 and is currently in its Phase B project definition phase. GRACE-C will be a single satellite pair based on a fully redundant LRI (as demonstrated on GRACE-FO) in a polar orbit at 500 km (~311 mi) altitude. To avoid a data gap after GFO, a launch date of no later than 2028 is targeted for GRACE-C.
      Similarly, GFZ has been conducting model simulation studies to determine the value of adding a second satellite pair, dubbed Next-Generation Gravity Mission (NGGM) in Europe.  The experiments reveal that advanced parameterization techniques for improved de-aliasing of short-term mass variations can significantly reduce data errors and open the possibility for higher spatial and temporal resolution data products and science applications.
      The technology demonstration LRI on G-FO has surpassed its performance requirements. With a LRI expected to be the primary instrument for the GRACE-C mission as well as other future GRACE-like missions, development of a new technique is required to provide long-term laser frequency knowledge to provide a scale correction factor to the geodesy measurement. The LRI-team presented updated results of a so-called scale factor measurement technique that allows the accurate determination of the laser frequency on-orbit that can meet the stringent GRACE-C mission requirements. This was achieved with a dual frequency modulation scheme, and a prototype electronics unit has been developed and tested, demonstrating performance better than the expected mission requirements. 
      There were also reports on progress in technology development of low-frequency optomechanical accelerometers for geodetic applications. These highly-sensitive, compact, portable – and cost-effective – optomechanical inertial sensors build upon recent advances in optomechanics to measure accelerations with small form factors. The development of a sensor with lower cost, size, weight, and power – yet with GRACE-like performance – is a major achievement as these could be integrated into cost-effective mission designs, spacecraft miniaturization, simplified architectures, as well as for the deployment of constellations of satellite pairs flying at lower altitudes.
      Section B: Geophysics and Climate Science
      There were five sessions included in this section of the agenda, which are summarized in the subsections below as follows: Hydrology (Session B4), Cryosphere (Session B2), Solid Earth Sciences (Session B1), Oceanography (Session B3), and Multidisciplinary Science (Session B5). 
      Hydrology 
      This session, with 12 presentations, highlighted advances in hydrology research and applications using G/G-FO data enabled by the unique value of long, uninterrupted mass change climate data record. 
      The topic of terrestrial water storage variations in California came up in several presentations, focusing on the see-saw swings between very wet and very dry years and the early impacts on groundwater recharge after the record-breaking snow accumulation during the 2022/2023 winter. The process of groundwater recharge – an important objective in the 2017 Earth Science Decadal Survey – is not well understood because of the challenges in observing infiltration of new water supply into the ground and the effects of rate of input, amount of input, and various aquifer characteristics. By combining observations of precipitation, snow water equivalent, surface water storage, ground surface deformation, and groundwater storage from G/G-FO, recharge behavior can be characterized in a natural experiment where source inputs are effectively not limited, but recharge capacity is limited. Results of studies shown during the meeting reveal that only a fraction of total available potential recharge can enter the aquifer, and that G/G-FO observations allow us to measure the effective aggregated recharge capacity and how it varies with several predictors. Another paper reported that subsurface water increases in California’s Sierra Nevada by 0.6 m (~2 ft) from October 2022 to June 2023, which represents 43% of the cumulative precipitation. 
      Several presenters reported on efforts to advance concepts to downscale G/G-FO data to bring the information closer to decision-making scales and expand water-related applications, as well as to fill gaps and expand the data record with multisensor observations. One presenter described a new spectral approach that employs wavelet multiresolution analysis to combine seasonal terrestrial water storage change data from G/G-FO with those from global navigation satellite system (GNSS) ground station networks to downscale the observations to smaller hydrological basins and to better separate processes over complex topographical terrain. This method can also be used by fusing G/G-FO and hydrological model data [e.g., from NASA’s Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) models at continental scales]. Importantly, the method yields trends and long-term signals that match G/G-FO observations – a strength of the observing system. Another approach used a statistical Bayesian framework to incorporate G/G-FO observations and Soil Moisture Change data from different available sources [e.g., NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission] to obtain nonparametric likelihood functions that allow for downscaling. A statistical technique called cyclostationary empirical orthogonal function (CSEOF) analysis – which is used to interpret space-time variability in a large dataset – allowed researchers to fill short data gaps (~1 year) in G/G-FO record (e.g., between 2017 and 2018 – the gap between GRACE and GRACE–FO) without having any additional data. With the support of physically-related data (e.g., precipitation and temperature), CSEOFs can be used to reconstruct water changes into the past or fill larger data gaps. Such datasets improve understanding of trends and natural variability and anticipate future trends in response to climatic changes. 
      Another presenter described a science study that found an apparent abrupt decline in temperate (non-ice) Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS) in 2015 to a new, lower regime that appears to be unique in the past 33 years. The triggering event for this new lower TWS regime appears to be the massive drought in Brazil in 2015. Subsequent droughts around the world (e.g., Europe, the western U.S., Canada, central Africa, and southern Brazil) have helped to keep TWS values depressed. Warm global sea surface temperatures, prevalent since 2015, have decreased rain accumulation over the continents, reducing TWS.
      In the European Alps region, a G/G-FO data analysis found that glacier and ice changes are the major contributors to the observed signals. Overall, glaciers here have lost ice mass at rates between 1.4 to 2.2 Gt/year since 2002. Advances in spatial downscaling and data combinations are expected to allow for improved estimates and applications, including geological hazard monitoring.
      In Northern Italy, accelerated groundwater loss has been detected using G/G-FO, well measurements, and vertical land motion observations. Since 2015, the groundwater loss has accelerated. Assuming a best-case scenario (conditions similar to 2007–2014), it could take 13–28 years for ground water storage to recover from recent long-term period of decline, thus setting the stage for prolonged drought conditions.
      Since a pioneering study in 2014, it is well-established that G/G-FO observations of TWS are an effective means to estimate flood potential and flood risks due to water-saturated soil. Novel G/G-FO data processing schemes that exploit sub-monthly variations of total water storage enabled researchers to delineate basin-specific storage-discharge dynamics more accurately. They found that at submonthly timescales in many global basins, water storage (i.e., saturated soil) has more impact on whether a flood will occur than the amount of precipitation that falls. 
      Along the Nile River, G/G-FO data were used to monitor water changes in crucial artificial reservoirs. These data indicate that water losses through underground-seepage over the geologically highly fractured region via a complex network of shear systems, faults, and fractures, are significant and could impact the delicate water balance in the region. A separate study focusing on nearby Southern Arabia found that intense tropical cyclones (wind speeds > 64 kph or ~40 mph) have doubled in the past decade compared to the preceding two, which resulted in significant recharge of the aquifers in the study area. The findings demonstrate the ability of G/G-FO to capture recharge signals and monitor aquifer systems in poorly gauged basins and highlight the significant role of tropical cyclones in recharging aquifers in arid Arabia.
      Cryosphere
      The five contributions in this session reported on new ice mass balance results of the Earth’s land-ice, as well as on novel data-combinations approaches that can improve the spatial resolution over G/G-FO-only data.
      The Antarctica Ice Sheet contributes to the largest sea level rise potential and remains as the largest uncertainty source in the prediction of future sea levels. Data from G-FO and the Ice, Clouds and land Elevation Satellite–2 (ICESat-2) mission have been used to track ice sheet mass and height changes in Greenland and Antarctica, respectively. By combining the strengths of G-FO (gravity or mass change) and ICESat-2, (laser altimetry) data, a more accurate and less uncertain estimate of ice sheet mass changes can be achieved. This combination has led to a proposal for an enhanced iterative algorithm for deriving Antarctic mass balance, incorporating key technologies such as altimetry, gravity measurements, Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data, and surface mass balance models. The study utilizes an effective density map derived from ICESat-2 and tests the algorithm’s sensitivity and uncertainty with synthetic data, considering realistic physical processes and variability. This approach aims to address discrepancies in estimating ice mass loss in East Antarctica and provides important guidance for optimizing future ground measurements (i.e., GPS station positions). Another presentation focused on understanding the differences in mass change recovered by the G/G-FO and IceSat-2 missions – both in terms of spatial distributions and total magnitudes – to ultimately determine a best combined estimate of ice sheet mass change leveraging the strengths of each mission. 
      Temporal gravity field estimates from G/G-FO data reveal that the Antarctic ice sheet contributed approximately 6.1 mm (~0.2 in) to global sea level rise from 2002–2022, with a net loss of ~2150 GT of mass. While mass change accelerated during the GRACE era, it has decelerated during the GRACE-FO era – due to increased mass gain in East Antarctica. The deceleration is attributed to surface mass balance processes: annual precipitation and increased incidences of extreme weather events in East Antarctica, challenging predictions based on correlations with climate indices like Southern Annular Mode and El Niño Southern Oscillation.
      A related study confirmed a pause in Antarctica’s mass loss, a non-accelerating mass loss in Greenland, and a steady loss from glaciers and ice caps away from the poles. The use of the LRI observations enabled novel submonthly analysis in key regions (including the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica and the Pine Island/Thwaites basins) to gain more understanding of fast ice dynamics and their spatial extent.
      While G/G-FO data span two decades, estimates of Earth’s oblateness from other satellite observations that date back to 1976 and provide a much longer data record – albeit at much coarser spatial resolution. This half-century long timeseries provides important constraints on ice mass change prior to the launch of GRACE in 2002. The data suggest that ice mass loss had already begun to accelerate by the 1990s. Recent progress in Earth system models, in conjunction with the long satellite data record, are being used to isolate trends in glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) – which is the vertical movement of the Earth’s surface after the weight of glaciers is removed from them – and to improved estimates of ice mass loss prior to GRACE.
      Solid Earth Sciences
      Two presenters in this session described their efforts to evaluate signals in the G/G-FO data record associated with earthquakes. The G/G-FO data provide a unique opportunity to observe the Earth’s response to great earthquakes across diverse tectonic settings at time scales from days to decades. Using 13 earthquakes of magnitude (Mw)>8.0 over the last 20 years, it was found that elastic bulk modulus and viscosity govern large-scale coseismic and postseismic gravimetric changes, respectively. By constraining the solid Earth’s viscosity structure, improved physics-based models of long-term postseismic changes can be developed that incorporate observations from G/G-FO. The portion of the long-term gravity change signal that can be attributed to these earthquakes can then be removed from the G/G-FO data to better quantify processes related to ocean mass and hydrology changes. When physics-based models are not available, alternative statistic-based approaches can be used to remove the co- and post-seismic signature of large earthquakes (e.g., 2004 Andaman-Sumatra and 2011 Tohoku, Japan quakes) from the G/G-FO data. 
      As the G/G-FO data record extends into its third decade, the long time series of Earth gravity changes requires careful consideration of the solid-Earth response to contemporary surface mass changes. To isolate the gravity signature of any surface mass signal, it is becoming evident that simple elastic loading corrections are no longer sufficient. Recent advances in mantle rheology – describing and understanding the nature of Earth’s mantle – derived in mineral laboratory experiments, tidal modeling, and seismic imaging provide unequivocal evidence of anelastic contributions to solid-Earth deformation on time-scales ranging from hours to decades. New developments in the solid-Earth capabilities of JPL’s Ice-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM) in the form of viscoelastic solvers for Love numbers and sea-level change was used to implement and explore the so-called Extended Burgers Material (EBM) and so resulting viscoelastic deformations between the seismic and GIA time scales. Preliminary testing with EBM rheology shows potential for a ~15–20% increase in mass change trends for some regions.
      A subdecadal variation of large-scale (i.e., spanning over continental scales) gravity signals with a period of approximately six years has attracted intense interest in the geodesy and geodynamic communities. Earth’s fluid core motions, magnetic field, Earth rotation, and crustal deformations have been invoked as causes for this signal. An analysis of G/G-FO data showed that a significant part of the approximately six-year signals is in fact due to climate-related oscillation of ocean-atmosphere coupling in the Pacific and Atlantic and variations in the land water storage over Africa.
      Oceanography
      In the oceanography session, five presenters reported on the combination of G/G-FO, satellite altimeters (e.g., from the joint NASA–European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission), and in situ ocean floats (e.g., Argo) to investigate variations in sea level and ocean circulations – e.g., see Figure 1. Other presenters discussed improvements in data processing by reducing errors in atmospheric tides that could lead to spurious trends or double-counting a subset of ocean tides and by incorporating new dedicated ocean data grids that remove geodetic signals not related to ocean dynamics (e.g., global ocean mass; large earthquake signals).
      Figure 1. The top row of maps show estimates of individual components of the observed sea level trend in the northwestern Pacific from 2003 to 2016 including contributions from: land ice melt [top row, left], non-ice land water storage [top row, middle], and stereodynamic effects [top row right], which are estimated by directly combining in situ-based steric sea level (i.e., based on Argo ocean profiling floats) with the GRACE-derived ocean mass changes. The bottom row shows the sum of all of the components of sea level trend on the top two rows [bottom row, left], compared the same measurement using satellite-altimetry [bottom row, right]. These data clearly show the strong earthquake-related signature of ocean mass change east of Japan. Image credit: Felix Landerer/updated from a similar figure published in Nature’s Communications Earth & Environment. Another presenter described how ocean mass redistribution and regional sea-level rise in the North-West Pacific marginal seas (i.e., around Japan and north of the Philippines) is impacted by seafloor deformation from earthquakes, which alter the ocean bathymetry. G/G-FO data are key to isolating these deformation effects, which in turn allows better sea level projections that can be used for planning purposes.
      While long-term sea level trends are of major concern, the seasonal cycle is the dominating climate signal in ocean bottom pressure variability. Accurate representation of seasonal cycle is thus key to efforts to improve observations and models of ocean bottom pressure. Examining differences between models and observations elucidates remaining uncertainty in observations and missing physics in the models (e.g., lack of intrinsic variability due to coarse resolution, no accounting of gravitational and loading effects). This allows researchers to advance the quality of ocean mass change observations and unravel underlying dynamics.
      Lastly, ocean bottom pressure observations from G/G-FO have been used to monitor transport variability of deep currents associated overturning circulation in the Northern Hemisphere (the Labrador Current) and Southern Hemisphere (Weddell Sea Bottom Water). This deepwater transport provides an important pathway for the sequestration of excess atmospheric heat and carbon from locations of water mass formation. Continuous observations of deep ocean currents provide valuable insight into Earth’s climate system. However, harsh conditions and complex recirculation transport pathways make in-situ observations of these deep flowing currents challenging.
      Interdisciplinary Science
      Six presenters contributed to this session. The first study revisited geodetic assumptions about measuring so-called Earth Center-of-Mass (CM) motions that can be traced to planetary-scale seasonal and long-term variations of water cycling between the land the oceans. Differences in SLR and G/G-FO estimates of CM estimates can be helpful to refining global circulation models. In a related study, G/G-FO and SLR data have been used to pin down the causes and origin of polar motion, particularly the mass component related to gravity changes. A novel hybrid SLR/GRACE time-variable gravity approach closely aligned well with the hydrological excitation in independently polar motion.
      Errors in GIA corrections impact altimeter estimates of sea level and ocean mass estimates and the so-called sea level budget. Choices in modeling GIA, particularly based on paleoshoreline sites, affect Earth’s viscosity structure and GIA response, influencing global mean sea level (GMSL) budget closure. Even minor Earth model changes can have notable effects on the alignment of GMSL (altimetry), ocean mass (GRACE), and steric sea level change (Argo). Thus, future research needs to focus on accounting for the complex three-dimensional structure of the solid Earth to improve GIA corrections and more accurately isolate contemporary mass change in the G/G-FO data record.
      Despite GIA uncertainties, G/G-FO, in combination with sea level measurements from altimetry, provide a unique capability to measure changes in ocean heat content. The ocean takes up nearly 90% of Earth’s current energy imbalance, signifying their important role in overall planetary heating. Two presenters reported consistent findings of ocean heat uptake rates of 0.9 W/m2 based on the indirect geodetic satellite measurements of sea level and ocean mass – a value that is entirely independent of other techniques and thus provides crucial validation – see Figure 2. In addition, the results indicated the overall heating rate over the last decade has increased, which means heat accumulation is accelerating.
      Figure 2. This graph shows different estimates of ocean heat uptake (OHU), measured with in-situ ocean floats (orange curve), from top-of-the-atmosphere radiance satellite measurements of Earth energy imbalance (EEi) (black curve), and from geodetic satellites, i.e., G/G-FO and altimeters (blue curve). The satellite measurements agree well and show an increasing energy imbalance over the last 20 years. Image credit: Felix Landerer/originally in Geophysical Research Letters. Summary
      The hybrid 2023 G-FO STM brought together over 120 international participants and showcased a broad range of science results and applications that are supported and uniquely enabled by the satellite gravimetry-based mass change observations. The G-FO data now span nearly six years and continue to provide crucial insights into how Earth’s hydrosphere, including sea level, ocean currents, and water distribution over land, is changing. The G/G-FO data are extending important climate data records (e.g., the Greenland and Antarctic ice mass time-series, ocean mass sea level data, and TWS over land) into their third decade. The upcoming GRACE-C mission will build on and expand this mature data record, which is increasingly enabling important applications in support of water-related decision making and planning.
      The G-FO project team remains focused on providing the mass-change data record at a level of performance consistent with that of GRACE. As the current Solar Cycle 25 increases towards its anticipated maximum in 2024, the team continues to improve the mission’s accelerometer data products in support of that goal. Corresponding data improvements in the monthly gravity and mass change products will be released early 2024.
      The next G-FO STM will be held from October 8–10, 2024 in Potsdam, Germany, organized by GFZ. Check the GRACE website for specific details as the date gets closer.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      (8 de noviembre de 2021) — La Estación Espacial Internacional, fotografiada desde la nave Crew Dragon Endeavour de SpaceX durante un vuelo alrededor del laboratorio orbital que tuvo lugar tras el desacoplamiento de Dragon del puerto orientado al espacio del módulo Harmony de la estación.Crédito: NASA Read this release in English here.
      La NASA ofrecerá una rueda de prensa con cuatro astronautas a las 9:30 a.m. EDT (hora del este de EE.UU.) del martes 19 de marzo en la sede de la agencia en Washington. La tripulación, entre la que se encuentra el astronauta de la NASA de origen salvadoreño Frank Rubio, hablará de su reciente misión a bordo de la Estación Espacial Internacional, donde llevaron a cabo una amplia gama de experimentos científicos en beneficio de la vida en la Tierra y de la exploración con seres humanos del espacio.
      Rubio, así como sus compañeros astronautas de la NASA Stephen Bowen y Woody Hoburg, y el astronauta de los EAU (Emiratos Árabes Unidos) Sultan Alneyadi, formaron parte de la Expedición 69 de la estación espacial y participarán en la conferencia de prensa.
      Durante su primera misión espacial, Rubio completó aproximadamente un viaje de más de 157 millones de millas y 5.936 órbitas a la Tierra, lo que equivale a 328 viajes de ida y vuelta a la Luna. La misión extendida de Rubio brindó a los investigadores la oportunidad de observar los efectos de los vuelos espaciales de larga duración en el ser humano, ya que la agencia planea volver a la Luna a través de la campaña Artemis y prepararse para explorar Marte. Rubio regresó a la Tierra en septiembre de 2023 a bordo de la nave espacial Soyuz de Roscosmos tras pasar 371 días en el espacio, un récord para Estados Unidos.
      Como parte de la misión SpaceX Crew-6 de la NASA, Bowen, Hoburg y Alneyadi regresaron a la Tierra en septiembre de 2023 a bordo de una nave espacial Dragon tras pasar 186 días a bordo del laboratorio en microgravedad. Como parte de la misión SpaceX Crew-6 de la NASA, Bowen, Hoburg y Alneyadi regresaron a la Tierra en septiembre de 2023 a bordo de una nave espacial Dragon tras pasar 186 días a bordo del laboratorio en microgravedad. Durante su misión, Bowen y Hoburg llevaron a cabo dos caminatas espaciales, y Alneyadi se convirtió en el primer astronauta de los EAU en realizar una caminata espacial. Con 10 caminatas espaciales realizadas durante sus varias misiones, Bowen está empatado con otros cuatro astronautas por el récord de mayor número de caminatas completadas por un astronauta estadounidense. Ocupa el tercer puesto en la lista de mayor número de horas acumuladas en caminatas espaciales.
      Además de sus investigaciones, los miembros de la tripulación también realizaron demostraciones tecnológicas y actividades de mantenimiento de la estación espacial. Bowen, Hoburg y Alneyadi recorrieron 78.875.292 millas durante su misión y completaron 2.976 órbitas alrededor de la Tierra. La misión Crew-6 fue el primer vuelo espacial para Hoburg, Alneyadi y Fedyaev. Bowen ha pasado en total 227 días en el espacio, acumulados en cuatro misiones.
      Los medios de comunicación interesados en participar deben confirmar su asistencia antes de las 5 pm EDT del lunes 18 de marzo a Joshua Finch (joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov) y María José Viñas (maria-jose.vinasgarcia@nasa.gov). La política de acreditación de medios de comunicación de la NASA está disponible en línea.
      El encuentro con los medios de comunicación tendrá lugar en el Auditorio Webb de la sede central de la NASA, en el edificio Mary W. Jackson, 300 E. Street SW, en Washington.
      Aprende más sobre la Estación Espacial Internacional:
      https://www.nasa.gov/international-space-station/ (inglés)
      https://go.nasa.gov/3wUF46G (español)
      -fin-
      Joshua Finch
      Sede, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov
      María José Viñas
      Sede, Washington
      240-458-0248
      maria-jose.vinasgarcia@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Mar 14, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      NASA en español Astronauts Expedition 69 Frank Rubio Humans in Space International Space Station (ISS) ISS Research NASA Headquarters Stephen G. Bowen View the full article
    • By NASA
      Read the article in English here.
      La Estación Espacial Internacional (EEI) es un laboratorio de investigación en microgravedad que alberga innovadoras demostraciones de tecnología e investigaciones científicas. Las más de 3.700 investigaciones llevadas a cabo hasta la fecha han producido alrededor de 500 artículos publicados en revistas científicas. En 2023, este laboratorio orbital albergó más de 500 investigaciones.
      Conoce más logros y hallazgos de las investigaciones en la estación espacial en la publicación Resultados anuales sobresalientes de la Estación Espacial Internacional (en inglés), y lee a continuación sobre los aspectos más destacados de los resultados publicados entre octubre de 2022 y octubre de 2023:
      Nueva perspectiva sobre los púlsares
      Vista del telescopio NICER, sujeto a la plataforma externa de alojamiento de carga útil de la estación espacial.NASA Las estrellas de neutrones, la materia ultradensa que queda cuando las estrellas masivas explotan como supernovas, también son llamadas púlsares porque giran y emiten radiaciones de rayos X en forma de haces que barren el cielo como faros. El Explorador de la Composición Interior de las Estrellas de Neutrones (NICER, por sus siglas en inglés) recoge esta radiación para estudiar la estructura, la dinámica y la energía de los púlsares. Los investigadores utilizaron los datos de NICER para calcular la rotación de seis púlsares y actualizar los modelos matemáticos de las propiedades de su rotación. Las mediciones precisas mejoran nuestra comprensión de los púlsares, incluyendo su producción de ondas gravitacionales, y ayudan a abordar preguntas fundamentales acerca de la materia y la gravedad.
      Aprender acerca de los relámpagos
      El brazo robótico de la estación espacial maniobra el Monitor de Interacciones Atmósfera-Espacio, el cual se observa en la parte superior de esta imagen, para llevar a cabo pruebas con la luz.NASA El Monitor de Interacciones Atmósfera-Espacio (ASIM, por sus siglas en inglés) estudia de qué modo la atmósfera y el clima de la Tierra afectan las descargas eléctricas de la atmósfera superior que son producidas por tormentas eléctricas severas. Estos fenómenos ocurren muy por encima de las altitudes normales de los relámpagos y las nubes de tormenta. Utilizando los datos de ASIM, los investigadores realizaron las primeras observaciones detalladas del desarrollo de un líder negativo, o el inicio de un destello, a partir de un relámpago en una nube. Comprender de qué modo las tormentas eléctricas perturban la atmósfera a gran altitud podría mejorar los modelos atmosféricos y las predicciones climáticas y meteorológicas.
      Regeneración de tejidos en el espacio
      La investigación Regeneración de tejidos – Defectos óseos (Investigación en Roedores 4, Centro para el Avance de la Ciencia en el Espacio, o CASIS), patrocinada por el Laboratorio Nacional de la EEI, examinó los mecanismos de cicatrización de las heridas en microgravedad. Los investigadores descubrieron que la microgravedad afectaba a los componentes fibrosos y celulares del tejido cutáneo. Las estructuras fibrosas en el tejido conectivo proporcionan estructura y protección a los órganos del cuerpo. Este hallazgo es un paso inicial en la utilización de la regeneración del tejido conectivo para el tratamiento de enfermedades y lesiones en los futuros exploradores espaciales.
      Músculos poderosos en microgravedad
      Instalación de la Unidad de Hábitat de Ratones en el Centro Experimental de Biología Celular de la estación.NASA/JAXA La JAXA (Agencia Japonesa de Exploración Aeroespacial) desarrolló el Sistema Múltiple de Investigación de Gravedad Artificial (MARS, por sus siglas en inglés), el cual genera gravedad artificial en el espacio. Tres investigaciones de la JAXA, MHU-1, MHU-4 y MHU-5, emplearon el sistema de gravedad artificial para examinar el efecto en los músculos esqueléticos que producen diferentes cargas gravitatorias: microgravedad, gravedad lunar (1/6 g) y gravedad terrestre (1 g). Los resultados muestran que la gravedad lunar protege contra la pérdida de algunas fibras musculares, pero no de otras. Es posible que se necesiten diferentes niveles gravitacionales para sustentar la adaptación muscular en las misiones futuras.
      Mejores imágenes de ultrasonido
      El astronauta de la JAXA Akihiko Hoshide utiliza el dispositivo de ultrasonido de la estación para obtener imágenes de la arteria femoral de su pierna derecha.NASA Eco vascular, una investigación de la CSA (Agencia Espacial Canadiense), examinó los cambios que se producen en los vasos sanguíneos y el corazón durante y después de los vuelos espaciales, utilizando ultrasonido y otros métodos de obtención de medidas. Los investigadores compararon la tecnología de ultrasonido 2D con un ultrasonido 3D motorizado, y descubrieron que el 3D es más preciso. Mejores mediciones podrían ayudar a mantener saludable a la tripulación en el espacio y la calidad de vida de la gente en la Tierra.
      Este es tu cerebro en el espacio
      El astronauta de la ESA Thomas Pesquet con un escáner cerebral previo al vuelo para la investigación Brain-DTI.ESA/NASA La investigación Brain-DTI de la ESA (Agencia Espacial Europea) llevó a cabo pruebas para saber si el cerebro se adapta a la ingravidez mediante el uso de conexiones entre neuronas previamente desaprovechadas. Las resonancias magnéticas de los miembros de la tripulación antes y después de los vuelos espaciales demuestran cambios funcionales en regiones específicas del cerebro, lo que confirma la adaptabilidad y plasticidad del cerebro en condiciones extremas. Esta información sustenta el desarrollo de formas de monitorear las adaptaciones cerebrales y de las contramedidas para promover un funcionamiento cerebral saludable en el espacio y para las personas con trastornos relacionados con el cerebro en la Tierra.
      Mejores materiales para energía solar
      La plataforma MISSE-FF es utilizada en la realización de pruebas para saber de qué manera la exposición al espacio afecta a los materiales, incluyendo los utilizados para la producción de energía solar en el espacio.NASA Los materiales de perovskita de haluro metálico (PHM) convierten la luz solar en energía eléctrica y son prometedores para su uso en células solares de película delgada en el espacio debido a su bajo costo, alto rendimiento, idoneidad para la fabricación en el espacio y su tolerancia a defectos y radiación. Para el Experimento 13 de Materiales de la Estación Espacial Internacional de la NASA (MISSE-13-NASA), el cual continúa una serie de investigaciones sobre cómo el espacio afecta a diversos materiales, los investigadores expusieron películas delgadas de perovskita al espacio durante diez meses. Los resultados confirmaron su durabilidad y estabilidad en este entorno. Este hallazgo podría conducir a mejoras en los materiales y dispositivos de PHM para aplicaciones en el espacio tales como paneles solares.
      Comprender las burbujas de las espumas
      Un colector de muestras para la investigación FOAM a bordo de la estación espacial.NASA Las espumas húmedas son dispersiones de burbujas de gas en una base líquida. Una investigación llamada Dinámica de la Materia Blanda del Laboratorio de Ciencia de Fluidos, o FSL (FOAM, por sus siglas en inglés) de la ESA examina el engrosamiento, o agrandamiento, del grano, un proceso termodinámico en el cual las burbujas grandes crecen a expensas de las más pequeñas. Los investigadores determinaron las tasas de agrandamiento para diversos tipos de espumas y encontraron una estrecha concordancia con las predicciones teóricas. Una mejor comprensión de las propiedades de las espumas podría ayudar a los científicos a mejorar estas sustancias para una diversidad de usos, incluyendo el combate de incendios y el tratamiento del agua en el espacio, y la fabricación de detergentes, alimentos y medicamentos en la Tierra.
      Respuesta a preguntas candentes
      Una muestra de tela compuesta de algodón y fibra de vidrio se quema durante el experimento Saffire-IV.NASA El fuego es una preocupación constante en el espacio. La serie de experimentos Saffire estudia las condiciones de las llamas en microgravedad utilizando la nave espacial de reabastecimiento Cygnus desocupada, que se ha desacoplado de la estación espacial. El Experimento Contra Incendios en Naves Espaciales IV (Saffire-IV, por sus siglas en inglés) examinó el desarrollo del fuego con diferentes materiales y condiciones, y mostró que una técnica llamada pirometría del color puede determinar la temperatura de una llama que se propaga. Este hallazgo ayuda a validar los modelos numéricos acerca de las propiedades de las llamas en microgravedad y proporciona información sobre la seguridad contra incendios en misiones futuras.
      El salto de robot
      Un robot Astrobee realiza una maniobra de autolanzamiento en la estación espacial.NASA La campaña de experimentos Astrobatics lleva a cabo a pruebas sobre el movimiento robótico mediante maniobras de salto o autolanzamiento de los robots Astrobee en la estación. En condiciones de baja gravedad, los robots podrían desplazarse más rápido, usar menos combustible y cubrir terrenos que de otro modo serían intransitables con estas maniobras, ampliando sus capacidades orbitales y planetarias. Los resultados verificaron la viabilidad de este método de locomoción y demostraron que proporciona un mayor rango de distancia. Este trabajo es un avance hacia la obtención de ayudantes robóticos autónomos en el espacio y en otros cuerpos celestes, lo que podría reducir la necesidad de exponer a los astronautas a entornos de riesgo.
      Melissa Gaskill
      Oficina de Investigaciones del Programa de la Estación Espacial Internacional
      Centro Espacial Johnson
      Busca en esta base de datos de experimentos científicos (en inglés) para obtener más información sobre los experimentos mencionados en este artículo.
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