Research and Application News
New NASA instrument continues measuring solar energy input to Earth
28 November 2017
We live on a solar-powered planet. As we wake up in the morning, the Sun peeks over the horizon to shed light on us, blanket us with warmth and provide cues to start our day. At the same time, our Sun's energy drives our planet's ocean currents, seasons, weather and climate. Without the Sun, life on Earth would not exist.
For nearly 40 years, NASA has been measuring how much sunshine powers our home planet. This December, NASA is launching an instrument to the International Space Station to continue monitoring the Sun's energy input to the Earth system. The Total and Spectral solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS-1) will precisely measure what scientists call "total solar irradiance." These data will give us a better understanding of Earth's primary energy supply and help improve models simulating Earth's climate.
Image credit: NASA - The Sun's total solar irradiance since 1978 as observed from nine previous satellites.