Aura (Latin for breeze) was launched July 15, 2004. Aura is part of the Earth Science Projects Division, a program dedicated to monitoring the complex interactions that affect the globe using NASA satellites and data systems.
The Earth's Ozone Shield Protects All Life
Stratospheric ozone has decreased 3% globally between 1980 and 2000 and thins by 50% over Antarctica in winter and spring. Depletion of the ozone layer allows more ultraviolet radiation to reach the surface. Increases in UV radiation are known to have harmful effects on living things. The Montreal Protocol and its amendments have banned the use of ozone destroying chemicals and the rate of ozone depletion seems to have slowed. Climate change will have an impact on how quickly ozone recovers.
The Earth's Air Quality Is Fundamental To Public Health And Ecosystems
The atmosphere has no political boundries; air pollution moves great distances across oceans and continents. The quality of air has degrated over certain parts of the world and has become a health issue. Severe pollution episodes increase mortality.
The Earth's Climate Is Affected By Changes In Atmospheric Composition
It is undeniable that human activity is beginning to alter the climate. The global rise in surface temperatures since the 1950's is correlated with the increase in greenhouse gases. Changes in carbon dioxiode, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, cloud cover, water vapor and aerosols all contribute to climate change.
Aura Is Designed To Answer Questions About Changes In Our Life-Sustaining Atmosphere
Aura's four instruments study the atmosphere's chemistry and dynamics. Aura's measurements will enable us to investigate questions about ozone trends, air quality changes and their linkage to climate change. Aura's measurements will provide accurate data for predictive models and provide useful information for local and national agency decision support systems.
+ Go to Aura web site
Using satellites, regional air pollution and their sources can now be observed closely from space.
Scientists head north to learn about air quality, ozone, and climate change predictions.
The instruments onboard Aura will help scientists monitor pollution production and transport around the world.
The story of a molecule and the spacecraft designed to help us understand it.
A mission to understand and protect the air we breathe.