This animation is an artist depiction of the Aquarius satellite in orbit around the earth as it collects data used to derive Sea Surface Salinity (SSS) measurements. This visualization was created prior to launch and uses simulated SSS measurements. The satellite orbit and data footprint is based on predicted data in preparation for launch.
Aquarius is a focused satellite mission to measure global Sea Surface Salinity. After its planned 09-Jun-11 launch, it will provide the global view of salinity variability needed for climate studies. The Aquarius / SAC-D mission is being developed by NASA and the Space Agency of Argentina (Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, CONAE). The satellite model depicted in this animation is an artist rendition and intentionally exaggerated so as to remain visible as it flies around the globe. Had the satellite model been rendered true-to-scale, it would not be visible when we pull out to see the full earth.
GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 220.127.116.11.0