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artist concept of Multi-Angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer aboard Terra
  Artist concept of Multi-Angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer aboard Terra.
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  During the 1980s, NASA formulated a new "Mission to Planet Earth." Its goal was to study Earth and its climate comprehensively with the same kinds of remote sensing technologies that NASA used to study other planets. Originally envisioned as a $30 billion project lasting until 2015, it began in 1986 with a call for instrument and science proposals.

JPL won several major instruments: a new version of the Microwave Limb Sounder, for study of stratospheric ozone chemistry (the instrument was chosen originally for the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite); the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, for study of tropospheric chemistry; the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, an advanced meteorology instrument; Seawinds, for measurement of ocean surface wind speed; and the Multi-Angle Imaging Spectro-Radiometer, for study of cloud physics. These were very long-term developments; the first not launched until 1999.
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