2000 NASA TERRA Press Conference Releasing Data From The Satellite

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A press conference on releasing data from NASA TERRA satellite


Date Taken:

Length: 01:24:03

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US


Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today to discuss the first findings from the EOS Terra mission. With us is Dr. Ghassem Asrar, the NASA associate administrator for the Office of Earth Scientists at NASA headquarters in Washington; and Dr. Yoram Kaufman, the Terra project scientist; and a team of scientists with the Terra mission. Each speaker will have a brief presentation, and then we’ll take questions, first from NASA headquarters, and then on to other participating NASA centers. Dr. Asrar? - Good afternoon. And welcome. Forty years after the launch of first Earth-observing satellite, that today is bringing us daily events on our planet, we are beginning a new era in Earth observations. This new decade will begin with the launch of 30 new satellites that will help us examine practically every aspect of our changing world from space. And Terra is the flagship mission in this constellation of – in this new constellation of Earth-observing satellites. Together, these 30 satellites will help us examine from space practically every aspect of our changing world and, for the first time, bring us the knowledge that we need to forecast, or predict, the course of change that is in store for us. Terra is designed specifically to answer two fundamental scientific questions. First, the carbon, which is the essential element for life on Earth, cycles through the Earth’s system through the activities that are taking place by vegetation on the continents and land and by microorganisms – small, microscopic plants in the oceansknown as phytoplanktons. And we do not fully understand how much of the carbon is cycled through the atmosphere or through the oceans or through the vegetation on land. And our knowledge of this cycling of the carbon is off by plus-minus 100%. Terra spacecraft is intended to help us reduce this uncertainty at least by a factor of 2. The second scientific objective of Terra is focused on understanding how Earth’s climate work. The warm and cozy temperature that we enjoy here on Earth is the consequence of a thermostatic set of mechanisms of cosmic proportion. This thermostat is primarily controlled by the energy that we receive from the sun and how that energy is distributed through the atmosphere, the oceans, and among the other components of the Earth’s system. One of the regulating mechanism for this thermostat is the presence of clouds in the atmosphere and suspended atmospheric particles known as aerosols. We do not know how clouds and aerosols contribute to this toggling mechanism that toggles between the cold and warm as seasons and years come and go. And Terra spacecraft is intended to help us understand the role of clouds and aerosols in this toggling mechanism. Those are two specific examples of the scientific discoveries that Terra is intended to bring about. Beyond the scientific discovery of the unknowns about our home planet, the observations resulting from Terra have practical applications and utilities toward solving societal problems, such as food and fiber production, management of coastal regions as well as fisheries, assessment of natural hazards, to just name a few. This is the first time that we are embarking on this very ambitious set of goals to help us understand this interconnected web of interactions that take place between the atmosphere, the oceans, and the continents, and life on our home planet Earth and try to unravel the mysteries – how this system works and be able to capture that knowledge in form of conceptual models that can help us mimic the behavior of our home planet and use these models to predict the future changes that are stored for us in terms of future of the Earth – or, the – and its presence in the solar system. Today – this afternoon, we have a group of distinguished scientists who will give you more specifics about the early results from the Terra spacecraft. And I have the pleasure of introducing to you the – Dr. Yoram Kaufman, who is a distinguished atmospheric physicist. He is a practicing scientist who uses the data from Terra as well as serving the role of project scientist for the spacecraft. In his capacity as a project scientist, he will try to attempt to present to you the overarching goals and objectives of the Terra mission at the beginning and will come back and try to illustrate how Terra contribution, as a whole, greater than the sum of the parts that are going to be presented by the rest of the speakers on this panel. Thank you very much. - Thank you, Ghassem. Good afternoon. What an exciting moment to meet here three days before Earth Day. Four months ago, we watched the spectacular launch into the blue California sky of the first Earth Observing System satellite – Terra – designed for a comprehensive checkup of planet Earth. What a wonderful way to start the new millennium. While I’ll describe the mission, in the background, you will seesome of the images from the Terra mission that later on will be described to you in details by the five instrument leaders. The Terra Observatory carries five instruments – American, Japanese, and Canadian. Science teams, which over 1,000 scientists, including scientists from France, Brazil, and other countries, worked together to form the science mission and to analyze the results within the science objectives that Dr. Ghassem referred to. Altogether, we’ll have the first thorough evaluation of the EROS system as it works together – land, ocean, atmosphere, life. Exchange of nutrients – carbon, heat, moisture, and pollution among them. The Earth, our planet, needs this comprehensive physical exam. It is doctor’s order. Terra is measuring a wide array of vital signs, many of them for the first time, to help us understand our plant, to distinguish between natural and human-driven climate change, and to show us how the Earth’s climate affects the quality of our lives, and more important, the quality of the lives of our children in the future. For us, the scientists, it is such a great pleasure to work with the Terra data. We found already that the five instruments are in great shape with full functionality that even exceeds our high demands from the engineering team. We shall share with you the first crop of raw images – a glimpse of the revolution in Earth sciences that the terabytes of data per week from Terra just begin. What is this revolution in Earth sciences, and why is important how it may affect our lives? Dr. Ghassem gives you – gave you a few examples. Let me elaborate a little bit more. Vegetation. We have several questions that we want to answer with this mission. What are the changes in global vegetation in oceanic biota? What are the changes in the food supply? How are they affected by human – by human activity – urbanization, agriculture, deforestation? They all affect the vegetation around the world. And by natural phenomena – we all know about El Niño, but what example – for example, Saharan dust that is depositing minerals into Atlantic Ocean –how they affect climate. Pollutants. What is the concentration of haze particlesand gaseous pollutantsin the atmosphere? What fraction originates from natural sources – deserts, fires – or manmade sources – fires again, cities? How they affect climate, human health, atmospheric cleansing ability. Water cycle. How availability of water vapor in the presence or absence of pollutants affects cloud properties. Precipitation. What is the effect of climate variations on water storage in snow and ice? Natural hazards. Is there a change of the frequency of world firesaround the world? Of floods?Of volcanic eruptions? Are they affected by climate change? Do they affect the climate itself? So these feedback mechanisms between Earth processes over land, ocean, and atmosphere is what Terra is about. In [inaudible] among the images that are you are about to see from the five instrument leaders will observe a common region. It is – it will show us an example of the integrated theme of observations from Terra. Later on, we’ll discuss these observations again. Consider, for example, this image, taken by an astronaut from the space shuttle. What you see here is the Himalayan Plateau in the bottom left and the Indian subcontinent shrouded in haze farther out. We chose this region since, because of the unique topography and the meteorological conditions in this part of the year, large amount of water vapor and pollution, both measured very well for the first time from Terra, is concentrated in that part of the world. The following presentations by the instrument leaders will give you a glimpse into the multiplicity of perspectives on ourworld that we shall see from the Terra Observatory for the first time. Allen? - Thanks, Dr. Kaufman.Now I’d like to introduce to you the Terra science team members. Beginning to my immediate left is Dr. Vince Salomonson. He is the team leader for MODIS. Next is Dr. David Diner, the MISR team lead. Then we have Dr. Yasushi Yamaguchi. He is the ASTER team representative.And Dr. Jim Drummond, the MOPITT team leader. And finally, Dr. Bruce Barkstrom, the team leader for CERES. Again, each speaker will have a brief presentation, then we’ll have concluding remarks from Dr. Kaufman, and then we’ll take some questions. Dr. Salomonson? - Thank you, Allen. I’m here to talk about the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer. We call it MODIS. And I want to tell you, I’m very excited. This culminates 14 years of effort on my part and about the same amount of time for all the 20-plus members of the MODIS science team and their colleagues spread worldwide. I have a few minutes just to describe to you the power of this MODIS instrument. It has some 36 spectral bands looking at different parts of the reflected solar radiation and emitted thermal radiation, or temperature, for the land and the ocean and the atmosphere. It has a spatial resolution that’s about four times better than some of the preceding instruments. It’s as high as 250 meters. And it is able to provide us these concurrent, simultaneous observations of land, ocean, and atmospheric features. So it’s with that kind of background that, when we saw the first swath of MODIS imagery, which will come up here on the TV screen, we were very, very pleased to see that we could indeed process the data so as to provide this natural color image, which, in itself, is a unique part of MODIS, and see differences in the land and the clouds, the land, differences in the ocean surface itself. What I’d like to do now is just describe to you a few of the highlights – some of the differences in the MODIS instrument that are particularly special. We’ve been able to take these – the swath that I just showed you and assemble it into a global image. And we’ll be able to provide the global images on a daily basis of some 40 parameters that will be useful for these kinds of studies that I’ve alluded to and whichDr. Asrar and Dr. Kaufman  have described. You can see here in this particular globe that we’re able to see the distributions of sea surface temperature, the distribution of vegetation on – and snow and ice on the land surfaces. And this kind of comprehensive information is going to be very valuable, we believe. The first thing I’d like to show to you is the advantages of the spatial resolution that we have. We’ll zoom in on this part of the Chesapeake Bay. And you see on the left one of the older instruments, and on the right, the MODIS image. And you can see that the spatial resolution, which here is 250 meters, is very advantageous. We’ll ratio, or difference, some of the bands so as to be able to look regionally as well as globally every day and see the distribution of healthy vegetation and see how it changes in response to drought, excessive rainfall, or different cropping practices as they evolve over time. We also are able to take a look at the aquatic vegetation, or the ocean biota, and get various measurements there that are of importance to the plant life and the vigorous vegetation on the – on the – over the globe. In this first image, which is over the Arabian Sea, we’re able to show the various varying concentrations of chlorophyllin this microscopic aquatic plant life, or phytoplankton. The red tones show high concentrations, and the blue, or cooler tones, show lower concentrations. Now, also, we can do something that’s extremely unique to MODIS. In this image, we’re showing the sun-stimulated florescence. In other words, if you’re – we’re all acquainted with fluorescent lights in our houses. Through some carefully chosen bands, we’re effectively seeing these fluorescent lights turned on by the sun. And that’s associated with the concentration of the photosynthetic activity. We can ratio those bands so as to get the ratio of the fluorescence to the chlorophyll concentration and get the degree of photosynthetic activity. So between these measurements of the ocean biota and the plant life over the land, we get an integrated view of the metabolism and how it – of the planet and how it varies with time. We can effectively – we will be effectively able to watch the Earth breathe, or to watch the biological pump where we pull in the CO2 as a – as part of the process of photosynthetic activity and better be able to address some of the problems that Dr. Asrar and Dr. Kaufman alluded to, where we’ll be able to see the exchange of the CO2 – carbon dioxide – between the land and the ocean and the atmosphere. The other thing I want to show you is our ability to identify clouds and aerosols. Again, as it was referred to earlier, having some idea about the variability and type and concentration of clouds is very important to our understanding climate. This first image that we showed you off the coast of Africa depicts our ability to delineate the thickness of clouds. Those images showed in tones where they were real red, that – in this first image, the thicker clouds in the blues, the thinner clouds, and then this image shows you the – in the red tones, the size of the particles. If they’re red – in this particular image, we’re seeing the larger particles. In most cases, they’re ice particles. And in the bluer tones, the smaller particles – usually water droplets. We’re also able to, with MODIS – another new capability to look at our – at the differences between the high clouds and low clouds. Here in this image, you’re seeing a mixture over the ocean and northeast of Venezuela, where there’s a mixture of high clouds and low clouds. With this new capability, we can strip out the high clouds, as shown here. And it’s very important for climate purposes whether they are high and thin or low and thick. In this animation that we’ll show you, we can also take – and with  that capability, and actually strip off those high clouds so as to be able to see the surface more clearly and understand what’s going on. So you can just see them move away. The last thing I want to highlight is our ability to look at total column water vapor. Water vapor is very important, as Dr. Kaufman indicated, for the formation of clouds. It reflects transpiration from plants and evaporation. And this next image is – image over the Indian subcontinent, in shades of white, you can see how we can describe the variability in that water vapor, particularly over land. And this capability is more sensitive to lower tropospheric – or, lower atmospheric water vapor than in previous methods that we’ve had. So we think it’s going to be very helpful also. So there are many other things I could describe. We’re going to be able to look at fires and their intensity. And I just don’t have time to get into that. But I think that we are looking – well, I know we are – the science team are looking forward with great anticipation to reducing these products. We think that we’re not only going to be able to add the scientific knowledge, but be able to monitor natural resources more effectively and, perhaps most importantly, be able to educate present and future generations about how this Earth is evolving and how precious it really it. So now I’d like to turn it over to Dr. Diner and MISR. - Thank you, Vince. M-I-S-R – the multi-angle imaging spectroradiometer, or MISR, is a new type of instrument that’s never flown in space before. It’s performing extremely well and providing new ways to physically characterize the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and clouds, and how they interact with sunlight, the primary energy source for Earth’s climate system. MISR’s digital cameras are capturing exquisitely detailed color imagery, such as this view of sunrise over Greenland and Baffin Bay. The instrument observes reflected sunlight over a swath 400 kilometers wide and can see objects as small as 275 meters, or about the size of a sports stadium. MISR images the entire daylight side of every orbit as Terra flies from pole to pole. What makes this instrument unique is that it has nine separate cameras looking forward, straight downward, and aftward of the vertical over a wide range of angles. As the spacecraft moves along its flight path, it takes only seven minutes for any single area to be imaged in succession at all nine angles. Let’s visit a few places and explore them using this new type of vision. Our first destination is Hudson and James Bay in Canada. On the left is a conventional view from the camera looking straight down. And we see little color in this icy winter landscape. On the right, we combine data in a single color band, but from three different cameras, encoding the forward-view angle as blue, vertical as green, and aftward as red. Color serves as a proxy for how different objects reflect light differently at different angles. Clouds, showing up as purple, now clearly stand out against the ice. Smooth ice appears light blue, whereas ice that is roughened, perhaps by melting and refreezing, appears orange. With this ability to see physical structure and texture, MISR can recognize different environmental conditions and measure their different interactions with sunlight, in contrast to the conventional view, where they essentially look the same. We next look at a view of the eastern United States, from Lake Ontario to Georgia, and spanning the Appalachian Mountains. Again, we begin with the traditional straight-downward view, and we see what generally appears to be a clear scene. As we progressively increase the angle of view, we detect a pall of haze over the Appalachians. This is similar to the effect you get when you look at different angles out an airplane window. Looking closer to the horizon significantly increases our sensitivity to airborne particles. One application of this is for observing pollution. Here is a view of the Himalayas looking south from the Tibetan Plateau in the foreground into the Ganges Basin of India in the background. In this view, we’ve draped imagery from the vertical camera over the surface topography. Switching to imagery from one of MISR’s oblique angles clearly emphasizes that India’s low-lying areas are shrouded in haze. Such variations in appearance enable MISR to determine haze amounts and to distinguish different types of airborne particles. This is important because they can affect our regional and global climate in different ways. Our final example shows an assortment of clouds over Florida and Cuba. The view is reoriented so that MISR’s flight path is from left to right, and we see Florida turned on its side. As we cycle through the nine cameras and change the angle of view from forward to aftward, we see that the clouds show a displacement from right to left The majority of this displacement is due to a geometric effect called parallax and not true motion. Parallax is what you experience when you place a finger in front of your nose and blink one eye and then the other, and your finger appears to change position. This stereoscopic vision gives us our depth perception, and the same principle applies to MISR. The greater apparent motion of the cirrus clouds tells us that they are higher than the low-level cumulus. This ability to localize clouds in 3D is a necessary step to being able to associate different cloud types with their amount of solar reflection. These visualizations are just a few illustrative examples of the new capability. Since every pixels in MISR’s images provides an accurate measure of reflected sunlight, our computers can process this digital information quantitatively. In the years ahead, this will enable us to paint a more detailed portrait of our planet’s changing environment and climate and some of the factors which affect Earth’s habitability. MISR, along with its companions on Terra, has just given us a fine new set of brushes and a new palette with which to paint that portrait. I’m now pleased to introduce Dr. Yamaguchi for ASTER. - Thank you, Dave. ASTER – the advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer – is the zoom lens of the Terra satellite. We image the Earth in 14 different colors. Our high spatial resolution of 15 meters is sufficient to count individual houses. Our stereo imaging capability allows us to determine elevation with an accuracy of about 10 meters. And this is the first spaceborne instrument with high spatial resolution, multi-channel thermal infrared imaging for [inaudible] mapping and accurate temperature measurements. ASTER is an international project. The instrument was supplied by Japan’s Minister of International Trade and Industry and is flying on NASA’s Terra satellite. A joint U.S.-Japan science team developed algorithms for science data products and is validating instrument performance. The primary mission goals are to characterize the Earth’s surface; to monitor dynamic events, such as volcanic eruptions and advances or retreats of glaciers; and to study processes that influence habitability at human scales, such as urbanization and [inaudible]. This ASTER image of Tokyo illustrates how this high spatial resolution data can be used to map and monitor local to regional event changes and to assess human impact on the environment. Areas of recent development can be seen on the west side of Tokyo along the base of the mountains. A detailed view of the downtown shows the moated Imperial Palace, which is surrounded by mixed commercial and residential neighborhoods. Nearing Tokyo Bay, we see the port area with its acclaimed artificial islands and many ships in the harbor. He we see the Haneda Regional Airport. A fly-by around Mount Fuji volcano in Japan was created completely from ASTER data. It shows how ASTER’s [inaudible] imaging capability will allow us to produce detailed elevation data. Topography is one of the most important and basic characteristics of the land. By combining the elevation with image data, we can visualize the three-dimensional properties of the landscape. Over the lifetime of the mission, we plan to acquire stereo data for the entire land surface of the Earth. A visible and infrared image of Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii show lava flows in dark colors. However, using the thermal infrared bands, differences appear in the lava flows due to their relative ages.  This helps us understand the eruptive history and the possible future hazards of a volcano. One of our major goals is monitoring dynamic events. On March 31st, Mount Usu volcano in Japan erupted, forcing the evacuation of 15,000 people. On April 3rd, ASTER captured this visible to near infrared image The current [inaudible] of Mount Usu lies on the south shore of a large volcanic lake. The three dark streaks are the ash deposit from the plume. We are currently imaging Mount Usu every opportunity to take – to look for further signs of unrest and to map damage. ASTER’s monitoring and mapping capabilities are illustrated by this series of images of the San Francisco area. The visible image reveals suspended sediment coming from Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in the upper-right corner. Also revealed are vegetation health in shades of red and details of the urban environment. The shortwave infrared image detects subtle soil differences beneath sparse vegetation. The thermal infrared image separates roofing materials, important for assessing the urban heat island effect. And the water surface temperature image shows cold water in blue, entering from the rivers, then warming up in the bays in red to yellow colors. This type of data is vital for monitoring wetlandsand understanding coastal dynamics. I will return to the visible and near infrared image to start our flight. We fly northward over the San Francisco Peninsula. And over the downtown area. We cross San Pablo Bay. And enter Suisun Bay. Turning south, we fly over the Berkeley and Oakland hills. And [inaudible] points come into view at the south end of San Francisco Bay. We turn northward and approach San Francisco Airport. And rather than landing and ending our flight, we see this is only the beginning of a six-year mission to better understand the habitability of the world on which we live. Now, next, Dr. Drummond will talk about the MOPITT instrument. - Thank you. My instrument measures atmospheric pollution. MOPITT – that’s short for measurements of pollution in the troposphere – determines the amount of carbon monoxide and methane in the atmosphere. They’re vital components of atmospheric chemistry in the carbon cycle. MOPITT’s a Canadian instrument with an international science team. The instrument was provided by Canada through the Canadian Space Agency, and the U.S. science team is responsible for processing the data. MOPITT measures infrared radiation emitted and reflected by the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. Because carbon monoxide is only present at about 1 part in 10 million, we’re looking for very subtle effects. And so today, I’m going to restrict myself just to talking about carbon monoxide measurements. In the animation you’re about to see, I’m showing data collected over 2-1/2 days. Red indicates high levels of carbon monoxide, and blue indicates low levels. The smallest data units in this plot are about 15 square miles. And we sweep out a 400-mile-wide swath on every orbit. We cover the planet in about five days, but clouds produce holes in our data. Vegetation and lightning fires produce carbon monoxide naturally, and human sources include industrial activity and the burning of forests – of tropical forests. These are shown in the larger amounts that you can see in the northern hemisphere in this plot – more industrial activity in the southern. Now, if we zoom in on Africa, we can see that these areas of high carbon monoxide are associated with the fires you just saw in the last image. And those occur at this time of year over that region. And finally, I’d like to point out the high values over the Indian subcontinent. We have that image? Thank you. To the north, the Himalayas have low values, but further south, you can see large amounts of carbon monoxide that streams out over the Bay of Bengal. Carbon monoxide plays a central role in the chemistry near the surface, where it affects the atmosphere’s ability to cleanse itself and may be involved in the formation of ozone smog. So future results are going to be much more detailed than those I’ve shown today. We’re only just beginning to show the first of MOPITT’s capabilities. This is new information. It gives us, for the first time, an indication of atmospheric chemistry of the lower atmosphere. Now I’d like to turn it over to Bruce Barkstrom for CERES. - Thank you, Jim. I represent the instruments connected with an investigation of clouds and the Earth’s radiant energy system. And we begin, again, a series of measurements that, a decade ago, demonstratedthat clouds cool the Earth. But we could not say, on the basis of those measurements, whether, as the climate changed, the clouds would enhance the change or be essentially neutralin whatever changes happen. In complement with the instruments that we’ve already talked about, CERES measures all of the energy in two broad streams. If you think of that picture of the Earth rising above the lunar landscape from nearly 40 years ago, you’re aware that the sunlight is the major source of energy that keeps us cozy, as Dr. Asrar put it. But some of that sunlight is reflected, and CERES measures the photons that are coming back reflected from the Earth and the clouds. In addition, the third major stream of energy that we measure is the one where the sunlight, having been absorbednear the Earth’s surface, heats it up and radiates to space. And so, if I can have the first of the images, this shows you an image that we obtained wherewe took an entire day’s observations with the satellite observing the Earth during the day, and we’ve colored in yellow and orange the parts of the Earth where we see through the atmosphere to the heated surface. And, as you might expect, you should be able to recognize the Sahara and the Saudi Peninsula, particularly, in the center of that image, where we can see through to the surface. The bluer areas in this image are near the poles and, as you might expect, are associated with cooler temperatures and lower levels of emission to space. And if you look carefully at those blue parts of the image, you can see some things that are in white, which are the clouds. And in fact, in that broad band across the tropics, what we have are the tops of thunderstorms that come – that have radiation that comes from the coldest part of the planet, the base of the stratosphere, where have tremendous thunderstorms in what are called the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, the movement of which is connected with the El Niño phenomena and La Niña. So that image should give you some sense as to where the energy is coming from that goes back to space. And to illustrate the difficulty that we have with understanding clouds, we have an animation that is taken from about the first week of observations, in which we’ve got this long-wave radiation to space. And you can see the motion of clouds in storm systems, frontal systems, and the thunderstorms in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. And where we strike land, when we open up this global map, you can see the deserts andland  regions in contrast with the areas in the ocean which don’t heat up nearly as much. It’s because clouds are so terribly variable and respond to water vapor, to particles, and to the motion of the atmosphere, that we really need the synergism with the other instruments that we have on the Terra satellite. And we have an illustration of this in an image, first from CERES, showing the reflected light, with the dark oceans reflecting 10%, and then other areas in which we move towards more reflection, which was indicated in white. Now, CERES, with its broad spectral bands and its coverage of the energy, has difficulty distinguishing between clouds and dust. And so that fade to the MODIS image illustrates a large dust storm that appeared off the coast of Africa and in which we used the MODIS and MISR information to deduce whether we were looking at clouds or dust. And so I think that illustrates the synergism that we will all be able to take advantage of in the coming years. And I’ll mention also that each of the instrument teams that we have has an educational outreach program. In the case of CERES, we have a program that we call Student Cloud Observations Online, in which we have about 500 schools now that have students that go outside when the satellites pass over and observe clouds from underneath so that we can complement our understanding of the measurements that we make when the satellites look down from above with observations of what the clouds are underneath. And so I think, with these students, we are preparing to observe a planet we haven’t really seen – the future Earth. And I think we’ll turn it back to you, Allen. - Thanks, Dr. Barkstrom. And now Dr. Kaufman will address the future of the Terra mission and its synergistic approach to Earth system science research. Dr. Kaufman? - Thank you, Allen. What you saw so far are the first images from the Terra Observatory. MODIS, with global daily views with dozens of colors. MISR, adding the angular perspective to the picture. ASTER, zooming on the given region of interest with stereo vision and multicolored observations. MOPITT – for the first ever, measurements of atmosphericgaseous pollutants – carbon monoxide, methane. And CERES – integrating the Earth processes' impact on climate that were observed with the other instruments by observing the changes in the ability of the Earth to reflect sunlight to space and emit thermal radiation. Before I conclude, I would like to zoom back to the Himalayan Plateau and Indian subcontinent in order to show you how Terra can observe one region from different points of view on this heavily populated and also polluted part of our planet. What you see here is the Terra true-color image direct over the surface topography. The unique topography with the high elevation of the Himalayan Plateau and the meteorology in this part of the year causes concentration of high moisture observed in the next image by MODIS. Moisture – water vapor – are transparent,but MODIS has this unique capability to observe them shown here by bluish colors and white. High moisture causes precipitation. High precipitation brings growth of dense vegetation. The green color under the Himalaya is the dense vegetation that you can see that attracted for the million of years humans into this region. And we have half a billion people live mainly in the red zones indicated in this image. This is the population of this image. Such a high density of people generate, naturally, high levels of haze. Aerosol particles – the airborne particles that were mentioned previously by previous speakers that you can see here under the Himalaya and flowing with the air flow to the Bay of Bengal. And also, carbon monoxide, a gaseous pollutant that was shown previously by the MOPITT – measured by the MOPITT instrument – very low concentration – blue over the mountains – and high concentration – orange and red over the Indian subcontinent and Bay of Bengal. This high concentration of pollutants changes the ability of the Earth to reflect sunlight. Of course, reflection of sunlight mainly depends if you are over land or over the ocean. But if you look on the Bay of Bengal, the northern part, which is more polluted, reflects more sunlight. It’s brighter than the southern part which reflects less sunlight. It’s stronger blue. This ability to observe different Earth processes using four of the instruments, and then to use the fifth instrument to see the impact on the radiation and climate is the unique feature of Terra and unique feature of the Earth Observing System that will be continued by other missions. In the coming months and years, we shall communicate to you periodically the new science from this exciting new mission. We anticipate that Terra data will revolutionize our understandingof the Earth’s climate system  and help distinguish between natural and human impact on our planet. We shall publish our results on the internet – Earth Observatory and Terra website at Terra.NASA.gov that can also take you to the websites of the individual five instruments. And one capability, that we should show you here, MODIS has a direct broadcast that can broadcast the MODIS data to any user around the world, free of charge. And here is an example of an image taken nine days ago over the Great Lakes in this region. Dave [inaudible], here in the crowd, brought with him laptop computer on which he can show you an image already on the Earth Observatory from today’s pass. I would like to tell you that this is just the beginning. I hope that you will enjoy with us the ride of six, maybe plus, years of Terra observations and other Earth-observing systems to follow. Thank you very much. Allen? - Thanks, Dr. Kaufman. We’ll now take any questions you might have. As always, please state your name and affiliation, and if possible, direct your question to the appropriate briefer. And as always, wait for the microphone. Any questions? Yes, right here. - Yeah. Paul Hoversten with Space.com. I realize it’s early in the project, but could anybody take a crack at telling me if the patient is healthy or the patient is sick at this point? I mean Earth. - Do any of you want to take that? - I’ll be happy to answer. I think what’s really important is the patient didn’t [inaudible] and didn’t get yet a thorough checkup. And this is what Terra is about to do. Once we’ll do the checkup, we’ll find many parameters of this patient. I think simply to say whether it’s healthy or sick is a underestimate of the complexity of the problem. We’ll understand our planet much better, and I hope that in the future we’ll know – the same way as we learn how to live with our body, we’ll learn how to live with our planet. - Do you know when that might be? [inaudible] - I think the first significant science results we should have within a year. But it’s the six years of the mission, with continuing satellite missions later on, where we’ll really have deeper and deeper understanding of our planet. - Okay. Any other questions? Yes, over here. - Stew Magnuson with Space News. A couple quick questions for Dr. Kaufman. How high up is it? What was the cost of the vehicle? And then maybe a little bit more complicated, is this vehicle going to finally put some of the controversy surrounding the greenhouse effect theory to rest? Or will they be able to – definitely be able to say whether the greenhouse effect is reality? - Okay, you have several parts of the question. Probably it’s easier to start from the end. The greenhouse effect. First of all, what we understand today – this is what Terra is about is that climate change is not only greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gases are very important and are driving this blanket type of phenomenon – keeping the heat in the Earth. But we know that other parts – Dr. Asrar mentioned the feedback effects – water vapor, clouds – play important role. Without water vapor, there wouldn’t be any global warming. Only carbon monoxide and even methane cannot do it. Then aerosol particles that have cooling effect in one part of the globe and warming effect in other parts of the globe. We need really to understand this whole system with these sophisticated, well-calibrated, state-of-the-art five instruments in order to understand how our climate behaves. And then, together with models, with field campaigns, with [inaudible] missions, we can understand and predict how the climate will evolve in the future. This is probably the most sophisticated, most complex, with biggest number of parameters problem that humanity ever encountered. - Any other questions? - There’s still – how high up was it? Cost of the vehicle? - The question was, how high up and the cost? - Yes, 750 kilometers high. The cost of the instruments and the spacecraft is of the order of $1 billion. And of course, there is cost of data analysis of – and science things. - Any other questions? Okay. No more questions. Well, if that’s the case, we’ll go ahead and conclude the briefing. I’d like to mention that website with more information on Terra will be shown immediately  following. That’s terra.gsfc.nasa.gov. And also a video file of all the Terra images will be shown at the 3:00 p.m. video filehere on NASA TV. Thanks, everyone, for joining us. - T minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Main engine start. And lift-off of the Atlas rocket with Terra,  flagship of the Earth Observing System.