Mission Statement

To utilize satellite and other remotely sensed data to explore and understand the linkages between water in all its forms, the land and life on Earth.

The Blue Marble

GSFC’s Hydrospheric and Biospheric research supports NASA and the nation with a world class workforce that conceive, develop and apply space-based technologies and observations to address issues of importance to society, including the effects of climate change on life on Earth.   Particular research areas include studies of the Earth’s Land Ecosystems, Cryosphere, Land Surface Hydrology and Ocean Ecosystems.


SMAP Gathers Soil Data in Australia

Amy McNally (ESSIC/617), Grey Nearing (SAIC/617) and Kiersten Newtoff (DEVELOP/610.4) are participating in the SMAP calibration and validation field campaign, initiated by International SMAP science team member Jeff Walker (Monash University, Melbourne, Australia), in the Yanco region (380 miles west of Sydney).  The campaign includes ground soil moisture and vegetation sampling and aircraft active and passive L-band sensor measurements coincident with observatory passes over the region.  The campaign runs from May 2 through May 22 and includes scientists from Australia, Netherlands, Germany, France and the United States, including NASA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  More information can be found in the May 7 blog entry at: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/fromthefield/


New NASA Earth Science Missions Expand View of Our Home Planet

New Earth Sciences Missions

Image Credit: NASA.

Over the past 12 months NASA has added five missions to its orbiting Earth-observing fleet – the biggest one-year increase in more than a decade.

NASA Study Shows Global Sea Ice Diminishing, Despite Antarctic Gains

Arctic Sea Ice Coverage, 1979.Arctic Sea Ice Coverage, 2013.

Image Credit: NASA's Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens and Jesse Allen.

Arctic sea ice coverage has been on the decline since scientists started monitoring its extent with satellites in 1979. The lowest extent on record was reached on Sept. 16, 2012, and it was approximately half the size of the average extent from 1979 to 2000. These maps show the minimum extent of Arctic sea ice in October of 1979 and 2013 as observed by satellite. October is typically the global maximum for sea ice, though it is just past the minimum in the Arctic.

ORCA Prototype Ready for the Open Ocean

Greenland Ice Sheet 3-D Map Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk.

From left to right: Gerhard Meister, Bryan Monosmith and Chuck McClain are shown here with the ORCA prototype, which is a strong contender for a NASA Earth science mission.

NASA Data Peers into Greenland’s Ice Sheet

Greenland Ice Sheet 3-D Map Image Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio.

Scientists using ice-penetrating radar data collected by NASA’s Operation IceBridge and earlier airborne campaigns have built the first-ever comprehensive map of layers deep inside the Greenland Ice Sheet.

NASA Launches Groundbreaking Soil Moisture Mapping Satellite

SMAP Launch

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, launches at 6:22 a.m. PST (9:22 a.m. EST) Saturday [January 31st] from Space Launch Complex 2, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. SMAP is NASA’s first Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state.

Project Highlights

Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite
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Measuring Global Sea Surface Salinity
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Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor
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Landsat 7
Acquiring images of the Earth's land surface
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NPOESS Preparatory Project
National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System
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Aerosol Robotic Network
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OceanColor homepage
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MODIS Rapid Response System
Rapid access to MODIS data
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Science on a Sphere
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LIMA: Faces of Antarctica
The NASA LIMA Faces of Antarctica Website
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MODIS Snow/Ice
The MODIS Snow/Ice Global Mapping Project
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Soil Moisture Active Passive
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Research areas:

Science Highlights

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Contact Us

Questions or Comments

General inquiries about the scientific programs at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center may be directed to the Center Public Affairs office at 1.301.286.8955
> PAO's Questions and Comments Page

Funding Opportunities

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