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NASA deploys planes, targets satellites to aid in oil spill response
Date:5/12/2010

n of oil, which separates into a widespread, thin sheen and smaller thick patches. Satellites can document the overall extent of the oil but cannot distinguish between the sheen and thick patches. While the sheen represents most of the area of the slick, the majority of the oil is concentrated in the thicker part. AVIRIS should be able to identify the thicker parts, helping oil spill responders know where to deploy oil-skimming boats and absorbent booms.

Researchers also plan to measure changes in vegetation along the coastline and assess where and how oil may be affecting marshes, swamps, bayous, and beaches that are difficult to survey on the ground. The combination of satellite and airborne imagery will assist NOAA in forecasting the trajectory of the oil and in documenting changes in the ecosystem.

From the outset of the spill on April 20, NASA has provided satellite images to federal agencies from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites; the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on Terra; and the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) and Hyperion instruments on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. All of these observations have been funneled to the Hazards Data Distribution System operated by the USGS.

With its very wide field of view, MODIS provides a big-picture of the oil spill and its evolution roughly twice per day. The Hyperion, ALI, and ASTER instruments observe over much smaller areas in finer detail but less often (every 2-5 days).

Other NASA satellite and airborne instruments are collecting observations of the spill to advance basic research and to explore future remote-sensing capabilities. From space, the Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) on Terra and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on Aqua as well as the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) on the joint NASA-France CALIPSO
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Contact: Steve Cole
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov
202-358-0918
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Source:Eurekalert

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