NASA Now Minute: Aquarius

Uploaded by NASAExplorerSchools1 on 15.06.2011

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Studying Earth's salty oceans.
June 19, 1999, just 12 years ago,
the QuikSCAT satellite was launched
to track global weather abnormalities.
This mission helped scientists determine the location,
structure and strength of severe marine storms
like Hurricane Katrina.
Aquarius is an instrument to measure sea surface salinity,
the saltiness of the ocean.
I'm sure you've had an opportunity to maybe swim
in a lake and then swim in the ocean
and you know the ocean is different, tastes different,
and that's the salt in the ocean.
You float different in an ocean then you do in a lake and that's
because the saltiness of the water changes the density,
the buoyancy, of the water -
makes you float a little bit easier.
Imagine Aquarius being a night goggle in space.
It looks down at the ocean it detects energy from the ocean
and that energy changes as the salinity changes.
So by looking at those changes we can calibrate the change
to salinity and get a measurement
of sea surface salinity content.
Be sure to tell your teacher
to visit the NASA Explorer Schools virtual campus.
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