Wednesday, 28 September 2011
NASA's Aquarius mission has produced its first global map of the salinity, or saltiness, of Earth's ocean surface.
The Aquarius/SAC-D (Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas) observatory is a collaboration between NASA and Argentina's space agency, and was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 10.
Commissioning was completed on July 24 and since then Aquarius has been making the first space observations of the concentration of salt at the ocean surface. This is providing valuable data for studies of how variations in salinity influence the ocean's deep circulation and defines the path freshwater takes around Earth.