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2019-05-02. The International Space Station has found its scientific calling.

posted May 7, 2019, 8:42 AM by Alan Gould
By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/international-space-station-has-found-its-scientific-calling] For GSS Climate Change chapter 9 and ABCs of Digital Earthwatch chapter 7. Excerpt: The International Space Station (ISS) has never been known as a hotbed of science, even though the United States and partner nations spent more than $100 billion to build it. Inside its cramped bays, astronauts study the biological effects of microgravity, and a few astrophysical experiments are mounted to its exterior. But ...the ISS has finally found a scientific calling: looking down at its home planet. The ISS is now home to five instruments that observe Earth, with two more set to join this year. One, NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3), ...will be the third prominent NASA mission to be mounted on the Japanese module within the past year. Ecostress, attached in July 2018, measures the heat given off by plants to gauge the impact of heat waves and drought. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), launched in December 2018, uses a laser to probe the height of tree canopies and understories. Later this year, a Japanese hyperspectral imager that can detect land use and forest type will take a fourth spot. Other instruments mounted elsewhere on the ISS in the past 2 years measure lightning, incoming sunlight, and ozone. Like OCO-2, OCO-3 carries a spectrometer that spies on wavelengths of light absorbed by carbon dioxide (CO2), providing a count of all CO2 molecules on a path from the ISS to the surface. Based on how CO2 concentrations vary from place to place, the missions can map some emission sources along with absorption by plants....