Aqua

Overview

Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice. Additional variables also being measured by Aqua include radiative energy fluxes, aerosols, vegetation cover on the land, phytoplankton and dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and air, land, and water temperatures.

The Aqua mission is a part of the NASA-centered international Earth Observing System (EOS). Aqua was formerly named EOS PM, signifying its afternoon equatorial crossing time. A timeline of Aqua on-orbit progress through the initial 120 day check-out period can be found here.

Aqua was launched on May 4, 2002, and has six Earth-observing instruments on board, collecting a variety of global data sets. Aqua was originally developed for a six-year design life but has now far exceeded that original goal. It continues transmitting high-quality data from four of its six instruments, AIRS, AMSU, CERES, and MODIS, and reduced quality data from a fifth instrument, AMSR-E. The sixth Aqua instrument, HSB, collected approximately nine months of high quality data but failed in February 2003.

Aqua was the first member launched of a group of satellites termed the Afternoon Constellation, or sometimes the A-Train. The second member to be launched was Aura, in July 2004, the third member was PARASOL, in December 2004, and the fourth and fifth members are CloudSat andCALIPSO, in May 2006, and the sixth member was GCOM-W1 in May 2012. In December 2013, PARASOL completed its mission and exited the A-Train. The latest addition to the A-Train was OCO-2, launched in July 2014. Now complete, the A-Train is led by OCO-2, followed by GCOM-W1, then Aqua, CALIPSO, CloudSat and, in the rear, Aura.

Learn more: http://aqua.nasa.gov/

Latest Updates

November 13, 2018
This image from NASA Worldview shows smoke from the California Camp Fire as seen by the AQUA satellite's MODIS instrument. Credits: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).
The six-day-old Camp Fire has already attained the unfortunate title of California's deadliest fire. The Camp Fire has already led to 42 deaths with a number of residents still unaccounted for. It is also the most destructive in California history as well with over 7,000 structures destroyed by the blaze. The fire began on Nov. 08, 2018 and has grown to a staggering 125,000 acres in just under a week. The cause of this blaze is still under investigation. California state regulators are investigating two utility companies that reported incidents close in time and location to the start of...
October 25, 2018
Super Typhoon Yutu
Aqua MODIS natural-color image of Typhoon Yutu acquired on October 24, 2018. In just 30 hours from October 23-24, 2018, a tropical storm in the western Pacific Ocean exploded into a category 5 super typhoon. Now that storm has made a direct hit on Tinian and Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, a territory of the United States. Super Typhoon Yutu has tied ...
October 26, 2018
AMSR-2 precipitation aquired 10/22/18.
AMSR-2 precipitation from Hurricane Willa acquired 10/22/18. On October 22, 2018 the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument, onboard Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Global Change Observation Mission (GCOM)-W1 satellite, observed the surface precipitation rates of Hurricane Willa as it approached Mexico. This Land, Atmosphere Near-Real Time Capability for EOS (LANCE) NRT AMSR2 image shows high...
October 13, 2018
Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captures sediment stirred up by Michael.  
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this natural-color image of seafloor sediment and river outflows (and possibly plankton) discoloring the water along the Gulf Coast of Florida and Alabama. The satellite passed over the area in the early afternoon on October 13, 2018. The sediment and other debris was stirred up by the churning action of wind and waves as ...
October 10, 2018
NASA's MODIS Instrument Captures Hurricane Michael
On October 8, 2018 the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Hurricane Michael when it was a Category 1 hurricane near the western tip of Cuba. Aqua is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission collecting information about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice....
October 10, 2018
NASA's AIRS Captures Hurricane Michael 
NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Hurricane Michael on October 8, 2018 at 2:47 p.m. EDT (1847 UTC). The NASA AIRS instrument captured Hurricane Michael's strongest storms. AIRS also captured a thick band of storms feeding into the center from the eastern quadrant. In those areas cloud top temperatures as cold as -63 degrees Fahrenheit were found. Storms with cloud top temperatures this low have the capability to produce heavy rainfall.
September 18, 2018
This MODIS flood detection map from 9/19/18 shows the 1-day flood product (in red), on top of the 1-day surface water product (in yellow) in Google Earth.
UPDATE 9/19/18: This MODIS flood detection map from 9/19/18 shows the 1-day flood product (in red), on top of the 1-day surface water product (in yellow) in Google Earth. The MODIS Near Real-Time Global Flood Mapping Project produces global daily surface and flood water maps at approximately 250 m resolution, in 10x10 degree tiles. This project was developed in collaboration with Bob Brakenridge at the Dartmouth Flood Observatory (DFO):...
September 14, 2018
This natural-color image shows how Hurricane Florence appeared from above to the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on September 11, 2018. The second image, acquired by CloudSat on the same day, shows a cross-secti
This natural-color image shows how Hurricane Florence appeared from above to the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on September 11, 2018. The second image, acquired by CloudSat on the same day, shows a cross-section—how the storm would look if it had been sliced near the middle and viewed from the side.  In April 2006, a Boeing Delta II rocket launched CloudSat,...
September 14, 2018
This image, taken at 1:35 pm local time on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) onboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows Hurricane Florence whose strong winds are expected to reach the Carolina coast late Thursday. Florence in
The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS, is a facility instrument whose goal is to support climate research and improve weather forecasting. Launched into Earth orbit on May 4, 2002 aboard NASA's Aqua satellite, AIRS moves climate research and weather prediction into the 21st century. AIRS is one of six instruments onboard Aqua, which is part of NASA's Earth Observing System of satellites.  This image, taken at 1:35 pm local time on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by the Atmospheric...
August 26, 2018
This image shows Hurricane Lane as observed by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Thursday, August 23. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This image shows Hurricane Lane as observed by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Thursday, August 23. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech Instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites were watching as Hurricane Lane -- a category 2 storm as of Friday, Aug. 24 -- made its way toward Hawaii. NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) captured images of Lane on just before noon local time on Aug. 24. MISR, flying onboard NASA’s Terra...
August 6, 2018
Aqua MODIS data acquired August 2nd, 2018. 
Aqua MODIS natural color image acquired August 2nd, 2018. Aqua MODIS false color image acquired August 2nd, 2018.  Wildfires continue to rage in Northern California and other parts of the American West. Thousands of firefighters are battling fires fueled by hot, mostly dry weather and strong winds. On August 2, 2018, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ...
April 24, 2018
Brightness Temperature Difference-based detection of sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The larger (absolute value) differences suggest larger quantities of SO2.
Examples of Ambae data products from the AIRS Rapid Response Website at JPL.  This site, currently under development, contains data products generated automatically for AIRS granules, or scenes.   The AIRS Rapid Response products may be used to track the dispersion of SO2 (Image 1) and ash clouds (Image 2) following an explosive volcanic eruption. The cloud cover product (Image 3) is an aid to interpreting the SO2 and ash detection products. The cloud cover was dense, with a tropical cyclone developing off the coast of Australia. The apparent lack of ash, relative to the presence...
February 9, 2017
The interactive map on the website shows images of areas with fires or floods, taken by NASA's AQUA satellite and the International Space Station (ISS).
Visit the interactive map website: http://science.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=9ef5b5839... The interactive map on the website shows images of areas with fires or floods, taken by NASA's AQUA satellite and the International Space Station (ISS). The United States and Argentina have combined resources to produce a Spanish language...
April 1, 2017
Aqua true-color image overlaid with active-fire detections, shown in red, take from MODIS (onboard Terra and Aqua) and VIIRS (onboard Suomi-NPP), showing smoke streaming from wildfires in Guatemala on April 1st 2017.
Fires started to burn in early March in the protected regions of Sierra del Lacandón National Park (also Laguna del Tigre), which is located in the tropical rain forest in the north west of Guatemala.   Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) data are being used to locate fire lines that are difficult to see from the ground, and these data are also being used to analyze long term fire trends.  One Guatemalan weekly report highlighted the improved value of VIIRS data to locate small fires and the valuable long–term...
February 2, 2017
On January 24, 2017, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this false-color image of scorched land flanked by actively burning fires.
On January 24, 2017, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this false-color image of scorched land flanked by actively burning fires.  Wildfires continued to ravage Chile’s countryside in early February 2017, weeks after they flared up in mid-January. The blazes have thwarted firefighters’ efforts to control them, with new hot spots emerging daily. Satellite data and scientific analysis suggest the fires are among the worst the country has seen in...
January 24, 2017
On January 20, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired an image of brown smoke billowing from a cluster of fires near the coastal city of Pichilemu.
On January 20, 2017, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired an image of brown smoke billowing from a cluster of fires near the coastal city of Pichilemu. Smoke from dozens of forest fires billowed over central Chile in January 2017. A heat wave, coupled with strong winds, spread the flames on January 20, prompting President Michelle Bachelet to declare a state of emergency in some areas. On January 20, 2017, the Moderate...
January 9, 2017
This visible image of the storm system affecting the U.S. Pacific Coast was taken from NOAA's GOES-West satellite on Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:35 a.m. EST (1345 UTC). Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Extreme rain events have been affecting California and snow has blanketed the Pacific Northwest. NASA/NOAA's GOES Project created a satellite animation showing the storms affecting the region from January 6 through 9, 2017, and NASA's Aqua satellite captured a look at the snowfall.  This visible image of the storm system affecting the U.S. Pacific Coast was taken from NOAA's GOES-West satellite on Jan. 9, 2017 at 8:35 a.m. EST (1345 UTC). Credits: NASA/NOAA GOES Project At...
July 28, 2016
Sand and Soberanes Fires Still Blazing in California
The Sand and Soberanes fires in California continue to blaze, however, the Sand Fire (lower fire) is 65% contained whereas the Soberanes Fire (upper fire) remains only 10% contained.   The Soberanes fire activity increased due to lower humidity and higher temperatures, which continues to present as a challenge in controlling the fire. A private hired equipment bull dozer operator was fatally injured last evening (July 26, 2016). A State of Emergency has been declared by...