Earth Observing System

Project Description
The Earth Observing System (EOS) is the centerpiece of NASA's Earth
Science Enterprise (ESE). It consists of a science component and a
data system supporting a coordinated series of polar-orbiting and low
inclination satellites for long-term global observations of the land
surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere, and oceans. By enabling
improved understanding of the Earth as an integrated system, the EOS
program has benefits for us all. The EOS Project Science Office
(EOSPSO) is committed to helping bring program information and
resources to program scientists and the general public alike.

EOS Program Description:

Since its creation in 1958, NASA has been studying the Earth and its
changing environment by observing the atmosphere, oceans, land, ice,
and snow, and their influence on climate and weather. We now realize
that the key to gaining a better understanding of the global
environment is exploring how the Earth's systems of air, land, water,
and life interact with each other. This approach -- called Earth
System Science -- blends together fields like meteorology,
oceanography, biology, and atmospheric science.

In 1991, NASA launched a more comprehensive program to study the Earth
as an environmental system, now called the Earth Science
Enterprise. By using satellites and other tools to intensively study
the Earth, we hope to expand our understanding of how natural
processes affect us, and how we might be affecting them. Such studies
will yield improved weather forecasts, tools for managing agriculture
and forests, information for fishermen and local planners, and,
eventually, the ability to predict how the climate will change in the
future.

The Earth Science Enterprise has three main components: a series of
Earth-observing satellites, an advanced data system, and teams of
scientists who will study the data. Key areas of study include clouds;
water and energy cycles; oceans; chemistry of the atmosphere; land
surface; water and ecosystem processes; glaciers and polar ice sheets;
and the solid Earth.

Phase I of the Earth Science Enterprise had been comprised of focused,
free-flying satellites, Space Shuttle missions, and various airborne
and ground-based studies. Phase II began in December of 1999 with the
launch of the first Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite, Terra
(formerly AM-1) and Landsat 7. EOS is the first observing system to
offer integrated measurements of the Earth's processes. It consists of
a science component and a data system supporting a coordinated series
of polar-orbiting and low-inclination satellites for long-term global
observations of the land surface, biosphere, solid Earth, atmosphere,
and oceans. We have initiated an era of unprecedented observational
capability for understanding the planet.

Just as the first weather and communications satellites fundamentally
changed our way of thinking about those fields, so the elements of the
Earth Science Enterprise will expand our perspective of the global
environment and climate. Working together with our partners around the
world, we are well on our way to improving our knowledge of the Earth
and using that knowledge to the benefit of all humanity.

For more information, link to the EOS homepage at
http://eospso.gsfc.nasa.gov/