NASA News: An Eye on Hurricane Ian

Image (Credit): Images from the ISS’s instruments monitoring Hurricane Ian as the storm neared Cuba. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

It may have been a bad week for NASA regarding the delayed launch of the Artemis I mission from Florida, but it has been a good week for NASA as it illustrates the benefits of monitoring Hurricane Ian as it crosses the Caribbean and heads towards Florida.

Two NASA instruments on the International Space Station (ISS) in particular are helping with this monitoring:

  • Compact Ocean Wind Vector Radiometer (COWVR) to measure the amount of rain in the atmosphere; and
  • Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems (TEMPEST) to track the volume of ice particles pushed into the upper atmosphere by the storm.

Together these instruments give us a much better understanding of the storm hitting the eastern coast of the United States. In this type of situation, any additional details can assist civic leaders and potentially save lives.

We are all fascinated by NASA’s images showing dust storms sweeping across Mars or highlighting the Great Red Spot on Jupiter, which represents a violent storm that has marked the planet’s surface for hundreds of years. Enormous storms mark and transform the face of our Earth as well. Monitoring our own planetary storm systems is another worthwhile goal for our NASA scientists.