NASA
  • Washington, D.C., DC, United States
Recent publications
Soil moisture is an essential parameter to understand crop conditions throughout the growing season. Collecting soil moisture data by field observation is labor-intensive, especially when attempting to obtain Conterminous United States (CONUS) geographic coverage. In addition, using soil moisture for assessing current and future crop conditions is best realized by combining soil moisture estimates with concurrent observations of crop conditions. However, until recently, this capability has not been available to the public. In this paper, we present an interoperable data service application system, the Crop Condition and Soil Moisture Analytics (Crop-CASMA) system, that facilitates the retrieval, analysis, visualization, and sharing of soil moisture data for the CONUS. This system delivers a variety of satellite remote sensing based data products that are derived from Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Level-4 data and SMAP Thermal Hydraulic disaggregation of Soil Moisture (THySM) data, as well as vegetation index data derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) observations. To make services interoperable and reusable, all data products are disseminated via Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Coverage Service (WCS) interface standards. Additionally, a suite of geoprocessing operations, such as geospatial statistics, time-series profile generation, PDF map production, and image composition, has been implemented in the OGC Web Processing Service (WPS) interface standard. The implementation shows the proposed web service system can significantly simplify the mapping and quantitative analysis of soil moisture and crop condition over U.S. cropland. In addition, it is interoperable with GIS software and has been successfully integrated with web-based applications.
During magnetic reconnection, field lines interconnect in electron diffusion regions (EDRs). In some EDRs, the reconnection and energy conversion rates are controlled by a steady out-of-plane electric field. In other EDRs, the energy conversion rate [Formula: see text] is “patchy,” with electron-scale large-amplitude positive and negative peaks. We investigate 22 EDRs observed by NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission in a wide range of conditions to determine the cause of patchy [Formula: see text]. The patchiness of the energy conversion is quantified and correlated with seven parameters describing various aspects of the asymptotic inflow regions that affect the structure, stability, and efficiency of reconnection. We find that (1) neither the guide field strength nor the asymmetries in the inflow ion pressure, electron pressure, nor number density are well correlated with the patchiness of the EDR energy conversion; (2) the out-of-plane axes of the 22 EDRs are typically fairly well aligned with the “preferred” axes, which bisect the time-averaged inflow magnetic fields and maximize the reconnection rate; and (3) the time-variability in the upstream magnetic field direction is best correlated with the patchiness of the EDR [Formula: see text]. A 3D fully kinetic simulation of reconnection with a non-uniform inflow magnetic field is analyzed; the variation in the magnetic field generates secondary X-lines, which develop to maximize the reconnection rate for the time-varying inflow magnetic field. The results suggest that magnetopause reconnection, for which the inflow magnetic field direction is often highly variable, may commonly be patchy in space, at least at the electron scale.
Plain Language Summary The ocean removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and reduces climate change caused by humans. The magnitude of this removal can be estimated using computer models of ocean physics, chemistry, and biology, as well as statistical extrapolations of observations. The observational record is too sparse to directly reconstruct air‐sea fluxes prior to 1982, but by combining models and a statistical approach, we make an estimate for 1959‐present that is substantially informed by observations. The LDEO‐Hybrid Physics Data product (LDEO‐HPD) product for air‐sea CO2 exchange includes two periods, with the first previously published for 1982–2018 and extended here to end in 2020, and the second being this extension back in time. For 1959–1981, LDEO‐HPD corrects models using the monthly average of data‐based corrections derived from the observed period, a choice justified by our finding that these monthly means are the largest component of the needed corrections during the observed period. The LDEO‐HPD product agrees much better with independent observations than the models alone, and can be used to understand what controls year to year changes in the ocean carbon sink.
Extreme weather events threaten food security, yet global ssessments of crop waterlogging are rare. Here, we make three important contributions to the literature. First, we develop a paradigm that distils common stress patterns across environments, genotypes and climate horizons. Second, we embed improved process-based understanding into a contemporary farming systems model to discern changes in global crop waterlogging under future climates. Third, we elicit viable systems adaptations to waterlogging. Using projections from 27 global circulation models, we show that yield penalties caused by waterlogging increased from 3–11% historically to 10–20% by 2080. Altering sowing time and adopting waterlogging tolerant genotypes reduced yield penalties by up to 18%, while earlier sowing of winter genotypes alleviated waterlogging risk by 8%. We show that future stress patterns caused by waterlogging are likely to be similar to those occurring historically, suggesting that adaptations for future climates could be successfully designed using current stress patterns .
Using observations of X-ray pulsar Her X-1 by the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, we report on a highly significant detection of the polarization signal from an accreting neutron star. The observed degree of the linear polarization of ∼ 10% is found to be far below theoretical expectations for this object, and stays low throughout the spin cycle of the pulsar. Both the polarization degree and the angle exhibit variability with pulse phase, which allowed us to measure the pulsar spin position angle and magnetic obliquity of the neutron star, which is an essential step towards detailed modeling of the intrinsic emission of X-ray pulsars. Combining our results with the optical polarimetric data, we find that the spin axis of the neutron star and the angular momentum of the binary orbit are misaligned by at least ∼20 deg, which is a strong argument in support of the models explaining stability of the observed super-orbital variability with the precession of the neutron star.
In order to determine the required visual frame rate (FR) for minimizing prediction errors with out-the-window video displays at remote/virtual airport towers, thirteen active air traffic controllers viewed high dynamic fidelity simulations of landing aircraft and decided whether aircraft would stop as if to be able to make a turnoff or whether a runway excursion would be expected. The viewing conditions and simulation dynamics replicated visual rates and environments of transport aircraft landing at small commercial airports. The required frame rate was estimated using Bayes inference on prediction errors by linear FR-extrapolation of event probabilities conditional on predictions (stop, no-stop). Furthermore estimates were obtained from exponential model fits to the parametric and non-parametric perceptual discriminabilities d′ and A (average area under ROC-curves) as dependent on FR. Decision errors are biased towards preference of overshoot and appear due to illusionary increase in speed at low frames rates. Both Bayes and A—extrapolations yield a framerate requirement of 35 < FRmin < 40 Hz. When comparing with published results (Claypool and Claypool Multimedia Systems 13:3–17, 2007) on shooter game scores the model based d′(FR)-extrapolation exhibits the best agreement and indicates even higher FRmin > 40 Hz for minimizing decision errors. Definitive recommendations require further experiments with FR > 30 Hz.
Biofilms are problematic on Earth due to their ability to both degrade the materials upon which they grow and promote infections. Remarkably, 65% of infections and 80% of chronic diseases on Earth are associated with biofilms. The impact of biofilms is even greater in space, as the crew's lives and mission success depend on nominal operation of mechanical systems which can be interrupted by material damage associated with biofilm growth. Furthermore, the isolated confined environment nature of spaceflight may increase the rates of disease transmission. In the case of the International Space Station (ISS), biofilms are an identified problem on the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), namely on the water processor assembly (WPA). In late 2019, the bacterial component of the Space Biofilms experiment launched to ISS to (i) characterize the mass, thickness, morphology, and gene expression of biofilms formed in space compared to matched Earth controls, (ii) interrogate the expression of antimicrobial resistance genes, and (iii) test novel materials as potential biofilm control strategies for future ECLSS components. For this, 288 bacterial samples were prepared prior to the launch of the Northrop Grumman CRS-12 mission from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The samples were integrated into the spaceflight hardware, BioServe's Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA), packed in sets of eight in Group Activation Packs (GAP). Half of these samples were activated and terminated on orbit by NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch, while the remaining half were processed equivalently on Earth. The spaceflight bacterial samples of Space Biofilms returned on board the SpaceX CRS-19 Dragon spacecraft in early 2020. We here describe the test campaign implemented to verify the experiment design and confirm it would enable us to achieve the project's scientific goals. This campaign ended with the Experiment Verification Test (EVT), from which we present example morphology and transcriptomic results. We describe in detail the sample preparation prior to flight, including cleaning and sterilization of the coupons of six materials (SS316, passivated-SS316, lubricant impregnated surface, catheter-grade silicone with and without a microtopography, and cellulose membrane), loading and integration of growth media, bacterial inoculum, and the fixative and preservative to enable experiment termination on orbit. Additionally, we describe the performance of the experiment on board the ISS, including crew activities, use of assets, temperature profile, and experiment timeline; all leading to a successful spaceflight experiment. Hence, this manuscript focuses on the steps implemented to ensure the experiment would be ready for spaceflight, as well as ISS and ground operations, with results presented elsewhere. The processes discussed here may serve as a guideline to teams planning their own gravitational microbiology experiments. This material is based upon work supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. 80NSSC17K0036.
For the realization of the 2020 International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF2020), the International DORIS Service delivered to the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) a set of 1456 weekly solution files from 1993.0 to 2021.0 including station coordinates and Earth orientation parameters (EOPs). The data come from fourteen DORIS satellites: TOPEX/Poseidon, SPOT-2, SPOT-3, SPOT-4, SPOT-5, Envisat, Jason-1, Jason-2, Cryosat-2, Saral, HY-2A, Jason-3, Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B. In their processing, the four analysis centers which contributed to the DORIS combined solution used the latest time variable gravity models, the new mean pole and diurnal-subdiurnal tidal EOP models recommended by IERS. In addition, all the analysis centers included in their processing precise SPOT-5 solar panel angle values and quaternions for, at least, the Jason satellites. Furthermore, a new Alcatel phase center variation model was implemented for the ITRF2020 processing. The main objective of this study is to present the combination process and to analyze the impact of the new modeling on the performance of the new combined solution. Comparisons with the IDS contribution to ITRF2014 show that i) the application of the new phase center variations for the Alcatel DORIS ground antennas in the data processing combined with the gradual replacement over time of the Alcatel by Starec antennas implies a scale drift from 1993.0 to 2002.5 and ii) thanks to a better modeling of the surface forces on the satellites, the new combined solution shows smaller annual and 118-day signals in the geocenter. A new DORIS terrestrial reference frame was computed to evaluate the intrinsic quality of the new combined solution. That evaluation shows that over almost the full time span the intrinsic IDS scale values lie in a range of ±5 mm. After mid-2008, the new DORIS reference frame has an internal position consistency in North-East-Up better than 7.5 mm.
A leap forward in our understanding of particle energization in plasmas throughout the heliosphere is essential to answer longstanding questions in heliophysics, including the heating of the solar corona, acceleration of the solar wind, and energization of particles that lead to observable phenomena, such as the Earth's aurora. The low densities and high temperatures of typical heliospheric environments lead to weakly collisional plasma conditions. Under these conditions, the energization of particles occurs primarily through collisionless interactions between the electromagnetic fields and the individual plasma particles with energies characteristic of a particular interaction. To understand how the plasma heating and particle acceleration impacts the macroscopic evolution of the heliosphere, impacting phenomena such as extreme space weather, it is critical to understand these collisionless wave-particle interactions on the characteristic ion and electron kinetic timescales. Such understanding requires high-cadence measurements of both the electromagnetic fields and the three-dimensional particle velocity distributions. Although existing instrument technology enables these measurements, a major challenge to maximize the scientific return from these measurements is the limited amount of data that can be transmitted to the ground due to telemetry constraints. A valuable, but underutilized, approach to overcome this limitation is to compute on-board correlations of the maximum-cadence field and particle measurements to improve the sampling time by several orders of magnitude. Here we review the fundamentals of the innovative field-particle correlation technique, present a formulation of the technique that can be implemented as an on-board wave-particle correlator, and estimate results that can be
A metal spacecraft cabin ventilation fan suitable for aerodynamic and acoustic ground tests was designed and tested in the NASA Glenn Research Center Acoustical Testing Laboratory. The fan design featured a low-noise blade-vane count that was chosen to reduce the rotor-stator interaction tone noise. The fan was throttled through its operating range, and results indicated that the measured aerodynamic and acoustic performance was in good agreement with predictions. Recommendations for further research of quiet high-performance fans intended to support long duration human space exploration missions are offered. This small fan aerodynamic and acoustic test rig and the NASA Glenn Acoustical Testing Laboratory are valuable resources available for supporting NASA's aeronautics research and space exploration missions.
Ungrouped carbonaceous chondrites are not easily classified into one of the well-established groups due to compositional/petrological differences and geochemical anomalies. Type 2 ungrouped carbonaceous chondrites represent a very small fraction of all carbonaceous chondrites. They can potentially represent different aspects of asteroids and their regolith material. By conducting a multi-technique investigation, we show that Queen Alexandra Range (QUE) 99038 and Elephant Moraine (EET) 83226 do not resemble type-2 carbonaceous chondrites. QUE 99038 exhibits coarse-grained matrix, Fe-rich rims on olivines, and an apparent lack of tochilinite, suggesting that QUE 99038 has been metamorphosed. Its polyaromatic organic matter structures closely resemble oxidized CV3 chondrites. EET 83226 exhibits a clastic texture with high porosity, and shows similarities to CO3 chondrites. It consists of numerous large chondrules with fine-grained rims that are often fragmented and discontinuous and set within matrix, suggesting a formation mechanism for the rims in a regolith environment. The kind of processes that can result in such chemical compositions as in QUE 99038 and EET 83226 are currently not fully known and clearly present a conundrum. Tarda is a highly friable carbonaceous chondrite with close resemblance to Tagish Lake (ungrouped C2 chondrite). It is comprised of different types of chondrules (some with Fe-rich rims), framboid magnetite, sulfides, carbonates, and phyllosilicate- and carbon-rich matrix, and consistent with being an ungrouped C2 chondrite.
Signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are required to annually report economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions and removals, including the forest sector. National forest inventory (NFI) is considered the main source of data for reporting forest carbon stocks and changes to UNFCCC. However, NFI samples are often collected asynchronously across regions in intervals of 5–10 years or sub-sampled annually, both introducing uncertainties in estimating annual carbon stock changes by missing a wide range of forest disturbance and recovery processes. Here, we integrate satellite observations with forest inventory data across the conterminous United States to improve the spatial and temporal resolution of NFI for estimating annual carbon stocks and changes. We used more than 120 000 permanent plots from the US forest inventory and analysis (FIA) data, surveyed periodically at sampling rate of 15%–20% per year across the US to develop non-parametric remote sensing-based models of aboveground biomass carbon density (AGC) at 1 ha spatial resolution for the years 2005, 2010, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The model provided a relatively unbiased estimation of AGC compared to ground inventory estimates at plot, county, and state scales. The uncertainty of the biomass maps and their contributions to estimates of forest carbon stock changes at county and state levels were quantified. Our results suggest that adding spatial and temporal dimensions to the forest inventory data, will significantly improve the accuracy and precision of carbon stocks and changes at jurisdictional scales.
Non-fission nuclear reactions were investigated by NASA as part of efforts to develop long-lasting electric power systems for space applications where solar energy is weak or unavailable. Key to investigation of nuclear reactions is spectroscopy of the neutron energies produced in such reactions. In addition to employing a standard scintillating-type neutron spectrometry system, the NASA team investigated the application of a moderating-type neutron spectrometer in a high-radiation environment as a parallel approach. The unfolded log-scale and linear-scale spectra of well-known calibration neutron sources are presented along with the ISO standard spectra for comparison. This new technology shows promise as a compact instrument capable of neutron spectroscopy in laboratory settings, and in particular, space applications where small size, low data rate and no onboard computation are advantages.
This paper summarizes the results from the system level test campaign of the Engineering Test Unit (ETU) of the ‘Ocean Color Instrument’ (OCI), the primary payload of NASA’s ‘Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem’ (PACE) mission. The main goals of the test campaign were to optimize characterization procedures and evaluate system level performance relative to model predictions. Critical performance parameters such as radiometric gain, signal-to-noise ratio, polarization, instantaneous field-of-view, temperature sensitivity, relative spectral response and stability were evaluated for wavelengths from 600 to 2,260 nm and are in line with expectations. We expect the OCI flight unit to meet the PACE mission performance requirements. Building and testing the ETU has been extremely important for the development of the OCI flight unit (e.g. improved SNR by increasing the aperture, optimized thermal design), and we strongly recommend the inclusion of an ETU in the development of future spaceborne sensors that rely on novel technological designs. ETU testing led to the discovery of a hysteresis issue with the SWIR bands, and a correction algorithm was developed. Also, the coregistration of the SWIR bands relative to each other is worse than expected, but this was discovered too late in the schedule to remediate.
Robust information on consumptive water use (evapotranspiration, ET) derived from remote sensing can significantly benefit water decision-making in agriculture, informing irrigation schedules and water management plans over extended regions. To be of optimal utility for operational usage, these remote sensing ET data should be generated at the sub-field spatial resolution and daily-to-weekly timesteps commensurate with the scales of water management activities. However, current methods for field-scale ET retrieval based on thermal infrared (TIR) imaging, a valuable diagnostic of canopy stress and surface moisture status, are limited by the temporal revisit of available medium-resolution (100 m or finer) thermal satellite sensors. This study investigates the efficacy of a data fusion method for combining information from multiple medium-resolution sensors toward generating high spatiotemporal resolution ET products for water management. TIR data from Landsat and ECOSTRESS (both at ~ 100-m native resolution), and VIIRS (375-m native) are sharpened to a common 30-m grid using surface reflectance data from the Harmonized Landsat-Sentinel dataset. Periodic 30-m ET retrievals from these combined thermal data sources are fused with daily retrievals from unsharpened VIIRS to generate daily, 30-m ET image timeseries. The accuracy of this mapping method is tested over several irrigated cropping systems in the Central Valley of California in comparison with flux tower observations, including measurements over irrigated vineyards collected in the GRAPEX campaign. Results demonstrate the operational value added by the augmented TIR sensor suite compared to Landsat alone, in terms of capturing daily ET variability and reduced latency for real-time applications. The method also provides means for incorporating new sources of imaging from future planned thermal missions, further improving our ability to map rapid changes in crop water use at field scales.
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Farid Salama
  • Space Science and Astrobiology Division/Space Science Astrophysics Branch
John Realpe-Gomez
  • Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
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