August 04, 2009
Imagine Earth without an atmosphere - without clouds, wind or air. Earth's atmosphere protects, transports, and reacts to life on Earth. Without our ozone layer, the surface of Earth would be subject to harsh radiation coming from the sun. Without good quality air, public health and ecosystems suffer. And changes in the makeup of the atmosphere - such as to carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, cloud cover, water vapor and aerosols – all contribute to climate change.
Five years ago, NASA launched a satellite into space to study changes in our life-sustaining atmosphere. Named after the Latin word for breeze, Aura orbits our planet round the clock, using four instruments to monitor the composition and dynamics of our atmosphere. Take a look at some of its greatest findings so far.
Read full story on NASA's Global Climate Change site