Pressure readings from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission's (TRMM) fuel tank on July 8 indicated that the satellite was nearly at the end of its fuel supply. As a result, NASA has ceased maneuvers to keep the satellite at its operating altitude of 402 kilometers (~250 miles). With its speed decreasing, TRMM has begun to drift downward. A small amount of fuel remains to conduct debris avoidance maneuvers to ensure the satellite remains safe.
Congratulations to our partner, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), for the successful launch yesterday of the Global Change Observation Mission 1st - Water (GCOM-W1). GCOM-W1 carries the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) which successfully deployed its antenna on orbit. AMSR2 will detect microwave radiation to measure sea surface temperature, sea surface wind speed, sea ice concentration, snow depth, soil moisture, water vapor, cloud liquid water, and precipitation.
One of the great challenges facing mankind in the 21st century is the threat of global climate change due to increased levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Is the threat real? Computer models that predict the future climate still differ in some very substantial ways with some models predicting little or no warming, while others predict temperature increases that would substantially alter our way of life.