High-resolution global atmospheric modeling provides a unique tool to study the role of weather within Earth’s climate system. NASA’s Goddard Earth Observing System Model (GEOS-5) is capable of simulating worldwide weather at resolutions as fine as 3.5 kilometers. This visualization shows global winds from a GEOS-5 simulation using 10-kilometer resolution. Surface winds (0 to 40 meters/second) are shown in white and trace features including Atlantic and Pacific cyclones. Upper-level winds (250 hectopascals) are colored by speed (0 to 175 meters/second), with red indicating faster.
This image of the Transantarctic Mountains was taken from the NASA P-3 airborne laboratory on Nov. 27, 2013, near the end of the 2013 IceBridge Antarctic campaign. NASA’s Operation IceBridge images Earth's polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting sea-level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA's ICESat satellite missions.
Dressed in a clean room suit, NASA photographer Desiree Stover shines a light on the Space Environment Simulator's Integration Frame inside the thermal vacuum chamber at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Shortly after, the chamber was closed up and engineers used this frame to enclose and help cryogenic (cold) test the heart of the James Webb Space Telescope, the Integrated Science Instrument Module.
This image shows a composite view of the Crab nebula, an iconic supernova remnant in our Milky Way galaxy, as viewed by the Herschel Space Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with important NASA contributions, and Hubble is a NASA mission with important ESA contributions. A wispy and filamentary cloud of gas and dust, the Crab nebula is the remnant of a supernova explosion that was observed by Chinese astronomers in the year 1054.
In a view from high altitude, height can be a difficult thing to gauge. The highest of clouds can appear to sit on a flat plane, as if they were at the same elevation as the ocean or land surface. In this image, however, texture, shape and shadows lend definition to mushrooming thunderheads over the Indonesian island of Flores. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image on the afternoon of Dec. 2, 2013. The towering clouds are so well defined that it is easy to visualize the rapidly rising air that is fueling them. “This looks like a classic example of island convection that is enhanced by topography,” says NASA scientist Joseph Munchak.
In the early hours of Nov. 27, 2013, Comet ISON entered the field of view of the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. In this picture, called a coronagraph, the bright light of the sun itself is blocked so the structures around it are visible. The comet is seen in the lower right; a giant cloud of solar material, called a coronal mass ejection or CME, is seen billowing out under the sun. Comet ISON, which began its trip from the Oort cloud region of our solar system, will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, skimming just 730,000 miles above the sun's surface.
A test version of NASA’s Orion spacecraft gears up to take a long road trip. Starting from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., the mockup will take a four-week journey across the nation to Naval Base San Diego in California. There, the test article will be used to support NASA’s Underway Recovery Test in February 2014. The test will simulate the recovery of Orion during its first mission, Exploration Flight Test – 1 (EFT-1), scheduled for September 2014. The uncrewed EFT-1 mission will take Orion to an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above the Earth’s surface, reentering the atmosphere at a speed of over 20,000 miles per hour before landing in the Pacific Ocean.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, for feasting, and for gratitude in the United States. It is also a time when the nation’s transportation network is clogged with travelers. According to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more during Thanksgiving week, with the average round trip being 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). More than 90 percent of them will use cars or trucks, while the rest will ride planes or trains. The United States has more roads—4.1 million miles (6.6 million kilometers)—than any other nation in the world, and roughly 40 percent more than second-ranked India.