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What is CERES?

CERES - Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy Sytem - is a high priority scientific satellite instrument which is now orbiting the Earth as part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (formerly known as Mission to Planet Earth). Scientists are using it to study the ways in which clouds may affect the Earth's climate. You can find detailed information on CERES at: http://ceres.larc.nasa.gov. A NASA lithograph (photo with explanation), and a NASA Fact Sheet about CERES are also available.

There are a number of CERES instruments flown in different orbits to obtain measurements over the entire globe. The first CERES instrument was launched on Thanksgiving Day, 1997. It was carried to orbit on a Japanese rocket as part of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) spacecraft.

The second and third CERES instruments were launched on December 18,1999. These were carried to orbit out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on the Terra spacecraft. Terra is the flagship of the Earth Observing System (EOS), a major international program to monitor climate and environmental change on Earth over the next 15 years. Part of a series of EOS satellites, Terra will enable new research into the ways that Earth's lands, oceans, air, ice, and life function as a total environmental system.

The fourth and fifth CERES instruments are aboard the Aqua spacecraft, which was launched on May 4, 2002. As its name indicates, this part of the Earth Observing System is focused on looking at water in the Earth system.

Follow this link for an introduction to all the satellites CERES is currently scheduled to fly on.

What is S'COOL?

S'COOL - Students' Cloud Observations On-Line - is a project which involves school children in real science. They provide ground truth measurements to assist in the validation of the CERES instrument. They can also compare the surface- and space-based observations to learn more about clouds and climate.






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