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Celebrating 17 years of NASA’s ‘Little Earth satellite that could’

30 March 2017

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The satellite was little (the size of a small refrigerator), only supposed to last one year and constructed and operated on a shoestring budget — yet it persevered. After 17 years of operation, with more than 1,500 research papers generated and more than 92,000 images captured from each of its imagers, the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite has exceeded expectations in its technology, research goals and longevity.

"The Earth Observing-1 satellite is like ‘The Little Engine That Could,'" said Betsy Middleton, project scientist for the satellite at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

EO-1 was a technology validation mission for testing cutting-edge advancements that have been and are being implemented on current and future satellite missions. The satellite launched in 2000 with 13 new technologies, including three new instruments, that had never been flown previously. Among its many accomplishments, the satellite was an innovator for detecting Earth's biochemical constituents in unprecedented detail, a pathfinder for using artificial intelligence software for streamlined satellite communication and a precursor for extremely close flying between orbiting satellites.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - Mosaic of Nassau, Bahamas

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