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Launched in a sun-synchronous orbit on May 4, 2002 Aqua is the second satellite in NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS). Aqua, Latin for water, is a NASA Earth Science satellite mission named for the large amount of information that the mission is collecting about the Earth's water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, sea ice, land ice, and snow cover on the land and ice.


  • AIRS – Atmospheric Infrared Sounder
  • AMSR-E – Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS
  • AMSU-A – Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit
  • CERES – Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System
  • HSB – Humidity Sounder for Brazil
  • MODIS – Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. MODIS delivers sea surface temperature (SST), atmospheric temperature, cloud temperature, cloud altitude, water vapor, ocean color and aerosol data. The MODIS instruments on board the Terra and Aqua EOS satellites acquire data with global coverage every 1-2 days.