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NASA's Aquarius Launched To Help Map the Oceans' Salt

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the pepper-mines-have-all-been-mapped dept.

Earth 64

oxide7 writes "NASA launched a satellite featuring an brand-new instrument which will be able to measure the saltiness of Earth's oceans. Data from the Aquarius/SAC-D spacecraft will help scientists understand better the processes that drive ocean circulation and the movement of freshwater around the planet."

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But (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416622)

But, the ocean is in the other direction!

Re:But (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36416692)

But, the ocean is in the other direction!

that is so much like what the african american black nigger needs to realize. you don't like it here? ok. africa is the other direction. if the taxpayers fund your exodus it will cost a lot less than we spend on welfare and inner-city law enforcement. stupid coons.

if my great great great grand-daddy knew things would turn out this way ... he'd have picked his own damn cotton.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36418380)

I'm sure my native American great great great grandfather would agree but would add that Europe is also in that direction - so all you white devils should also go back and take your damn dirty infected blankets with you. You're all thugs, rapists and murders. Land stealers.

Re:But (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36421500)

I keep trying to think of a properly worded joke along the lines of "just use taste testers." Not working.

How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36416628)

I'm all for the benefits that satellite technology has brought to our modern life, but measuring the salinity of the oceans seems to me like something that could probably be done much more economically with direct measurements (i.e. from a boat).

Use your funds more wisely, NASA.

Re:How much did this cost? (2)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416674)

The Aquarius instrument will map the global open ocean once every seven days for at least three years with a resolution of 93 miles.

That would be one hell of a fast boat.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416722)

That would be one hell of a fast boat.

They'd need a boat that's fast and smart. They'd need Knight Boat [teamknightrider.com] .

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36424046)

Not if you had Hulk Hogan [youtube.com] at the controls....

Re:How much did this cost? (2)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416724)

or, perhaps, really big.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416684)

You have two choices.

Spot measurements that do not encompass an entire ocean with a method that is inefficient, not automated, uses up thousands of gallons of fuel per month, ties up human resources, and gives out-of-date data,

or....

Use a satellite that can measure an entire ocean all at once via spectroscopy and map it in real time with computers.

I know which one I'm picking.

--
BMO

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36416946)

Bullshit. For a fraction of the cost, you could have manufactured 20,000 sensor cubes (complete with GPS tracker and satellite data transponder), distributed them to commercial shipping and fishing vessels THAT ARE ALREADY IN THE OCEAN, and given them a few hundred bucks apiece to activate and deploy them. Give people a hundred more if they are returned (so that they don't become more ocean trash). Not only that, but these trackers could have stayed active for days or even weeks (depending on battery type) and tracked ocean currents to boot.

Do you have any concept of the costs and risks of a satellite launch? We launch communications satellites precisely so we can do things like this WITHOUT cluttering up LEO with yet more satellites.

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417102)

Sure, you could do that. And you'd get spot checks of a few spots right near land where fishing happens. Or do you think these folks take their fishing boats around the world to all parts of the ocean? Same thing for tankers - they follow certain routes only. This needs full coverage so must be done the way they did it.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418140)

And then your cubes will be concentrated by the currents in several zones, leaving large swathes of ocean uncovered. That's the problem with autonomous floating stations. It has been tried earlier for temperature measurement - it hasn't worked much better either.

Also, salinity can change as a result of storms, weather, etc. We'd like to watch it in realtime, which these cubes won't allow to do.

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36419026)

Even if your point is valid, which it may be, I have never, ever been in a situation and cannot conceive of a situation where the realtime ocean salinity in a particular location would be of the slightest value to me, or would affect my actions in any way. Wasted money.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36419548)

Is realtime ocean temperature important to you as well? No? Now think about weather forecasting.

Salinity drives ocean currents, which are important for climate. Do you want to know if a particular piece of land will have more storms in the next 20 years? Well, this satellite will help to predict such things.

Re:How much did this cost? (1, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416950)

Or use a satellite launched while we are bankrupt that can measure an entire ocean all at once via spectroscopy and map it in real time with computers. FTFY.

This would be all well and good if it was 1955, or if it was launched by the Chinese, but the simple fact is we're broke and the right would rather risk us defaulting than raise taxes to even 1990 levels. So spending on this kind of shit really needs to stop, at least until we can quit blowing cash like shit through a goose on three wars, new aircraft carriers and superplanes, and at least get taxes on the 1%ers up to 1990s level, although I'd say 1950s levels would be better, after all isn't that the time the right wishes we'd go back to?

But we just don't have the money to afford this shit right now, hell we can't even afford a replacement for the shuttle.

Re:How much did this cost? (1, Interesting)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417342)

It's not just the right that feels we'd be better off defaulting but over 63 percent of American's according to a recent article. The initial poll indicated that over 45 percent feel that way but after they changed the questions and run the poll again, the answers resulted in over 60 percent response saying default and be damned about it.

Yes people in this country are getting tired of the ever growing debt due to the war and funding things like NATO (10billion per quarter), Israel (several billion per year) and would rather we get our own house in order and take care of ourselves instead of everyone else.

Personally, I'd love the Feds to default and give us a reason to kick most of the damn idiots out of office for a change while going back to either a Gold or Silver standard. Yes it would hurt lots of corps and China but who gives a damn about them? I certainly don't because the only faith in the Dollar is now backed by the Military only, not something real.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417682)

>It's not just the right that feels we'd be better off defaulting but over 63 percent of American's according to a recent article

Then they're dumb. What do you think will happen to the deficit and debt after we default and the interest rates on borrowed money go up?

What, you think defaulting is going to magic it all away?

People like you want to take whatever fragile economy we've got and toss it in the dumper just to satisfy your rage at the Chinese.

>Yes it would hurt lots of corps

No, it would hurt /everyone/.

You're short-sighted and dumb.

--
BMO

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418158)

So, 60 percent of US citizens are dumb as a desk or misinformed?

Figures.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418688)

If you think things are bad now just wait until the US starts defaulting on its debt. It's the quickest route I can think of to US becoming a second rate power. It will lead to a worldwide depression. If you think the 1930's were bad you haven't seen anything yet. I hope you have some sort of survivalist bolthole to retreat to if that happens.

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36421382)

Notice I got modded down for daring to say we're broke? I love how the MSM has put its fingers in its ears and goes "la la la everything is fine" instead of admitting we are in the start of a depression which anyone in the flyover states can plainly see.

Years of outsourcing and declining wages has left this country a third world nation, with a few at the top rolling in cash and the rest not able to keep their homes. if we looked at the ACTUAL numbers and not the BS the feds spread you are looking at 30% unemployment and probably close to that underemployment, the business districts of most of mid America looks like Escape From New York with all the abandoned buildings, this place has had it. Yet NASA and the rest of the feds STILL spend like it is 1956!

Maybe it is time to default, maybe it is time for our own Arab Spring, because frankly it is pretty obvious the fed has gotten so corrupt there is simply no fixing it by legal channels. the money has gotten too concentrated, too much power in the hands of too few, the media to bought off, it is just over folks. Mod down all you want but it won't make 2+2=5 which is the kind of math we are looking at in Washington while they build the latest superweapons like the Cold War is still going.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36423302)

going back to either a Gold or Silver standard.

Yes, because that will magically make things better.

Re:How much did this cost? (1, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417410)

The NWS is going around fucking begging for fucking GOES replacements and those are the fucking sats we use to predict the fucking weather, you know, fucking hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, etc? You know, the shit that affects our economy? And just like this, understanding how the ocean fucking works will help us understand what happens to fishing stocks and weather and a whole lot of other things so that we may FUCKING PLAN AHEAD FOR THE FUCKING FUTURE.

Fuck you and your FUCKING SHORT TERM OUTLOOK.

HOW ABOUT YOU DIRECT YOUR FUCKING RAGE AT THE FUCKING 5 OR SO UNPRODUCTIVE FUCKING WARS WE'RE FUCKING DOING (IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, LIBYA, YEMEN, AND PROBABLY SOME SHIT THAT HASN'T HIT THE FUCKING NEWS YET), YOU FUCKING MORON?

YES, I'M FUCKING MAD. FUCK YOU AND ALL OF YOUR TYPE. WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO DO THIS SHIT, UNLIKE THE FUCKING WARS WHICH ARE A FUCKING WASTE. SINCE YOU'RE SO FUCKING FOND OF THE 50s, WHY DON'T YOU READ IKE'S FUCKING SPEECH?

AND WE ARE NOT FUCKING BROKE. YOU KNOW WHAT'S BROKE? THE FUCKING CUT-TAXES-AND-SPEND-MOAR-ON-FUCKING-WAR DO-NOTHING-ABOUT-REAL-PROBLEMS REPUBLICANS.

--
BMO

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418080)

You're not american, are you?

Re:How much did this cost? (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418986)

I am. Born and raised in New England.

And I am mad as hell at what they've done to my country.

--
BMO

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417446)

So spending on this kind of shit really needs to stop, at least until we can quit blowing cash like shit through a goose on three wars, new aircraft carriers and superplanes,

Can't we offset those costs by deporting all the illegal immigrants? After all they are at heart of all of our problems.

Re:How much did this cost? (2)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418148)

$287 million. It was paid for by NASA and CONAE, the Argentine space agency. The satellite was built by Argentina and tracking and control are CONAE's responsibility, not NASA's.

But don't worry, next year Argentina will be testing their own rocket (Tronador II), so you won't have to worry about spending money for NASA next time Argentina wants to put a sat in orbit.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418150)

"Or use a satellite launched while we are bankrupt"

You are not bankrupt, sorry guv. Your government can borrow at about 2.5% rate, which certainly doesn't indicate bankruptcy.

However, your banana-republic Republican government is indeed bankrupt - their brains got eaten by zombies.

Re:How much did this cost? (2)

Layzej (1976930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418544)

This project was funded and executed largely by Argentinia. The U.S is in a sad place when Americans are chanting "he'll no we can't!" and Argentina (of all places) is picking up the slack.

Re:How much did this cost? (1)

Layzej (1976930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36418416)

you are no doubt right, however there will be challenges either way. According to NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt a realclimate.org: Aquarius retrievals are based on passive microwave technology and rely on the fact that salinity affects the thermal emission properties of the ocean surface. This effects are quite subtle, and the range of variability is relatively small, so it has taken many years for the technology to catch up to the need. This is however a first attempt to do this from space, so challenges will undoubtedly remain.

Re:How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36424392)

Don't think for a second that this is all the instrument does.

I work in oceanography (but not for NASA) and the number of satellites useful for us has recently fallen by one because a sensor stopped responding to commands and stopped reporting data. Every instrument that is put up, we find as many uses as possible for.

Vocabulary (5, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416670)

This is Slashdot. It's ok to use words like "salinity" in the summary.

No, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36416778)

Salinity refers to salt content. Saltiness refers to flavor. It's a pretty clear difference. Now, having read only the summary, can I just say that I'm glad to see the age-old question of "which surf tastes best, and when?" being addressed by NASA.

Re:Vocabulary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417578)

Don't fool yourself. The average base knowledge of science and its nomenclature around here is at an all time low. Slashdot has become more about light sci-fi and politics and less about science and technology. Even the lead 'editor' rarely has anything to say that isn't about comic book movies or video games. And just look at how many science articles ever get the comment numbers above the double digits. Put up an article about Sarah Palin's email and you'll have over 500 with no problem.... not to even touch on the content of these posts.

Recently I had a debate with a Slashtard about a point of scientific information and I got into a several post thread in which the poster tried to attack me at every angle while never addressing the point being made. That's what Slashdot is today and considering the 'editors' are more hands-off than ever? I doubt anyone has any real desire to see this go back to being about hard tech and science.

Re:Vocabulary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36419356)

THANK YOU! Wish I had mod points.

Now I can work on uncurling my toe nails...

Mechanism? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416754)

I tried to look up the mechanism of how microwave data is interpreted to give salinity levels, but all I could find in a quick hunt was some IEEE papers which were over my head. Anyone here care to give a summary of the method?

The article below has more technical details than the submitted link:

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/d354/ [spaceflightnow.com]

(Off topic true story: A friend was once head of his college IEEE chapter. A freshman from another country who was just joining brought him a check to cover the membership made out to "I. Tripoli".)

Re:Mechanism? (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416864)

There's a very nice website at: aquarius.gsfc.nasa.gov I can't find anything that describes how they do it, but there's a list of interesting email addresses here [nasa.gov] .

Re:Mechanism? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417006)

Salinity and temperature are the only things that alter the energies emitted and reflected by the ocean at certain centimetre wavelengths (frequency, 1.43 GHz). The atmosphere is almost transparent - no pesky gas, cloud or mostly rain. After that, you've got to model the galactic radiation which is also reflected and causes a lot of problems- luckily it's well known as it doesn't alter quickly very often.

BTW, the NASA Aquarius web site talks sheer nonsense that this is first salinity satellite. SMOS, launched by ESA, has been mapping the seas for a year or more.

Re:Mechanism? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417034)

IIRC, salinity affects the dielectic properties of the seawater. The microwaves will be reflected at changes in dielectric properties.

Re:Mechanism? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417628)

http://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/WIKI/AQ(2f)GS(2f)AquariusInstrumentDescription.html

The instrument is a kind of radar called a scatterometer. It measures the amount of L-band (1400 MHz-ish) power reflected back by the ocean's surface. If you compare the amount scattered back in Horizontal and Vertical polarization, you can tell the dielectric properties of the water (mostly conductivity changes). In general, the reflection in vertical polarization (perpendicular to the surface) is more strongly affected by epsilon (dielectric constant) than horizontal pol, and both change with angle of incidence. (why polarized sunglasses help looking into water, block the Hpol and you get rid of most of the reflection)

The challenge is in measuring the very small changes, so the instrument has a variety of schemes to calibrate out changes in transmitter power, atmospheric losses, receiver gain, etc. (not to mention that the sea surface roughness has an effect.. a frosted window reflects a different amount of light than a shiny smooth one).

For EE geeks, think of an instrument like this as flying a VNA with a measurement uncertainty 0.1dB.

CONAE at work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36416808)

More info: http://www.conae.gov.ar

CONAE (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#36416826)

"This mission is the most outstanding project in the history of scientific and technological cooperation between Argentina and the United States,"

That's why the acronym is SAC and not SSA (Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas - Satellite for Scientific Applications). I think it's just another satellite... This was newsworthy in Argentina only because there are very few local satellites (I can only recall past iterations of SAC). Even the president talked [telam.com.ar] about this, "it is a matter of great pride for our people" (elections are near - the uranium enrichment facility is timed for 2 weeks before the presidential election's second round). But generally anything built by INVAP [wikipedia.org] is newsworthy in the country: they are the big guys in engineering so they get all the important government tasks like reactors, submarines, radars, etc.

Map the oceans' salt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417002)

Note to NASA:

        Please investigate ways of diverting funds away from Mars mission.

NASA:

        How about mapping the salt content of the oceans?

NASA vs. NOAA (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417038)

Quick question: where are the lines drawn between NASA's and NOAA's responsibilities?

Re:NASA vs. NOAA (1)

slashgrim (1247284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417544)

Quick question: where are the lines drawn between NASA's and NOAA's responsibilities?

NASA has much, much more satellite experience than NOAA so the responsibilities are often shared. On the other hand attempting to share "ownership" (as opposed to a single owner with well defined, shared responsibilities) led to a situation where a "White House Office of Science and Technology report concluded that NPOESS’ management structure was unsalvageable" (Warning: the provided link may have nothing to do with Aquarius...and may be entirely inaccurate...read with caution): http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/major-shifts-flow-from-npoess-polar-satellite-program-crisis-01557/ [defenseindustrydaily.com]

So now: "NASA would manage the civilian Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) afternoon orbit satellites, on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) behalf."

In other words, NASA does the engineering, NOAA does the science.

Re:NASA vs. NOAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36421076)

NOAA is geared towards operational missions for the purpose of producing forecasts. NASA explores new ways to make scientific measurements of the environment, including maintaining a consistent climate record of various environmental variables. In either case, both do science, however, the type of science involved is different.

Another distinction on the engineering side is that NASA tends to fly state-of-the-art and research oriented instruments, which require some of the best engineering on the planet to develop. NASA tends to work on advancing science with new measurements. Conversely, NOAA tends to stick to tried and true in support of lower cost operational, off-the-shelf measurements. This seems to have caused some different expectations between agencies regarding instrument quality.

There is, however, a major disconnect between executive direction and logistics regarding climate studies. Years ago, NOAA was declared the climate agency. In actuality, NASA has been making climate measurements from space for decades, and has much of the nation's top expertise and computational infrastructure in that area. There is no practical way to transfer all of the knowhow and machinery from one agency to the other, not without a significant brain drain at NASA. To regrow the capability at NOAA will cost the taxpayer quite a bit. This conundrum has festered between the agencies for years and there is no good solution in sight (not to mention the usual squabbles over who funds what). NOAA now appears to be going the costly route now. I wish them, and we the taxpayer, luck.

Glad it "Survived" the launch. (0)

Bruha (412869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417106)

The last two climate satellites were lost due to "Launch Failures". One which was supposed to measure global carbon emissions at the highest resolution to date. I guess this one was not much of a threat to those who deny climate change.

Re:Glad it "Survived" the launch. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417246)

It just had to. The SAC-D satellite was built in Argentina, by a government-owned company. And elections are nearby. It would be a shame to our president if the launch failed :D

Re:Glad it "Survived" the launch. (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417514)

The last two climate satellites were lost due to "Launch Failures". One which was supposed to measure global carbon emissions at the highest resolution to date. I guess this one was not much of a threat to those who deny climate change.

You know there are medications that can help people like you, right?

Re:Glad it "Survived" the launch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36417592)

You know there are medications that can help people like you, right?

Maize?

Sorry, just watched Grown Ups...horribly unfunny movie btw. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grown_Ups_(film)#Critical_reception [wikipedia.org]

Re:Glad it "Survived" the launch. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#36426498)

It's as big a threat to deniers as any satellite. It's just that the connection isn't as direct as some of the others. Understanding salinity and ocean surface temperatures are essential to understanding things like density, evaporation and how currents run which in turn affect the climate. The increase understanding will allow better accuracy for inputs into climate models which should improve their accuracy.

Argentina's participation (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36417236)

OK, just to clarify the article: the "collaboration" of Argentina in this project consisted in the design, construction, tracking, and operation of the satellite. The SAC-D is an Argentine satellite for the most part, built in collaboration with NASA and France, Italy and Canadian space agencies.

So the aquarius is an instrument on board of an Argentine satellite.

I think the measuring of salinity is a very cool project that could help understand global-scale weather. But the fact that a country considered a "third world" country is building satellites (and also uranium enrichment facilities, nuclear reactors, and many other high-tech things) should be mentioned too.

Re:Argentina's participation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36420664)

If only... If only...
Due to our typical third world/banana republic status:
Yes, we have 2 nuclear plants working another in the making, 50 years in the making!
yes, we have uranium mines and enrichment facilities, gathering dust thanks to dirty politicians doing what USA wants.
We HAD ICBMs! project CONDOR-2, also shutdown by USA.
Not to mention the lastest coup de etat, USA believes Argentina is gonna go commie like Chile and bam goes the coup...
Our cars are mostly assembled with imported parts...
Import of high tech goods is being delayed/prohibited, yet the "plants" that build such goods here limit themselves to opening the original box and re-packing said goods... (there are a few assembly plants for LCDs and phones...)
Ever since 1950 (and the dammed Peron presidency) the country has been on a downwards slope.
Huh, nice captcha: Zealous

Re:Argentina's participation (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36421930)

Nada les viene bien. Nada.

Y encima posteas anonimo, puto.

Re:Argentina's participation (1)

fmaresca (739871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36424312)

Jaja, muy bueno. Son como el perro del hortelano, no cojen ni dejan cojer. Imaginate lo que va a ser si el satélite llega a fallar, van a brindar con champagne como la vez pasada... Bueno, otro palito en el orto de la derecha cipaya. Saludos y agradecimiento a los científicos argentinos por el logro. *Algunos* compatriotas estamos orgullosos de ustedes.

Re:Argentina's participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36422204)

Gorilón!

Re:Argentina's participation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36424200)

Arrancaste bien (digo por el if only if only), después los pelos del pecho se te atragantaron en la garganta gorila bufarron!!!!

BTW, SAC-D/Aquarius is not a NASA project but a CoNAE (Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, Argentina NASA-like organism) one, with help from other organizations (like INVAP).
The satellite is operated and controlled by Argentina, data gathering and analysis is done in Argentina. It was just Aquarius that was a sensor that was assembled by NASA.
Thanks.

Re:Argentina's participation (1)

RFQ2me (2260352) | more than 3 years ago | (#36422002)

It's curious that american media calls this project "Aquarius/SAC-D", while argentinian media calls it "SAC-D/Aquarius"... It seems everybody wants to be the father of the child...

Re:Argentina's participation (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36422418)

It's SAC-D. Aquarius is the main instrument, built by NASA, while the rest sat was built in Argentina and tested in Brazil. The other instruments onboard are mostly Argentine but also Canada, Italy and France participated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAC-D [wikipedia.org]

Old news (2)

zou258 (2094134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36419778)

The Aquarius/SAC-D salinity-sensing instrument is not exactly brand-new. It is an L-band microwave radiometer based on the same principle as the one on the SMOS satellite launched in October 2009. Still, it helps to have more satellites monitoring the oceans.

Argentina or US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36422572)

The operation of the SAC-D/Aquarius is done by Argentina
And the CONDOR operation [wikipedia.org] was done by the US?

Name reuse. (2)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36422718)

Whenever I think of a spacecraft named "Aquarius," I think of the LM that the Apollo 13 astronauts used as a lifeboat to survive the trip back to Earth after their Service Module was damaged after launch. After delivering those astronauts safely back to LEO and being heroically jettisoned into the atmosphere to meet her demise, that spacecraft deserved to have its name retired.
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