This artist concept is of NASA's MISR spacecraft which views the sunlit Earth simultaneously at nine widely spaced angles.

No instrument like MISR has flown in space before. Viewing the sunlit Earth simultaneously at nine widely spaced angles, MISR provides ongoing global coverage with high spatial detail. Its imagery is carefully calibrated to provide accurate measures of the brightness, contrast, and color of reflected sunlight.

MISR provides new types of information for scientists studying Earth's climate, such as the partitioning of energy and carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere, and the regional and global impacts of different types of atmospheric particles and clouds on climate. The change in reflection at different view angles affords the means to distinguish different types of atmospheric particles (aerosols), cloud forms, and land surface covers. Combined with stereoscopic techniques, this enables construction of 3-D models and estimation of the total amount of sunlight reflected by Earth's diverse environments.

View all Images