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April 30, 2012 - Dust in the Wind

Dust in the Wind The first satellite in NASA’s Earth Observation System was launched ten years ago this week. The Aqua satellite studies Earth’s water cycle, including evaporation from the oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere, clouds, precipitation, dissolved organic matter in the oceans, and more. This Aqua image shows a delicate arc of Saharan dust streaming off the coast of northwest Africa and sweeping out over the Atlantic Ocean and the Canary Islands. The dust can act like a fertilizer for ocean waters depleted of iron and other nutrients that marine plants need to grow, but it also can carry disease-causing bacteria and fungi, which damage coral reefs as far away as the Caribbean. The dust itself can spread to North and South America and cause respiratory distress in people who are sensitive.

Image credit: NASA / Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

Weekly Calendar

April 30 - May 6, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Monday 30

Venus greatest illuminated extent

Tuesday 1

Mars 8° north of Moon

1949: Gerard Kuiper discovers Nereid, moon of Neptune
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Sun

Wednesday 2

Thursday 3

2003: ISS Expedition Six crew returns to Earth after 161 days in orbit

Friday 4

Saturn 6° north of Moon

1967: Lunar Orbiter IV launched
1989: STS-30 Atlantis launched, releases Magellan spacecraft
2002: Aqua satellite launched

Saturday 5

Cinco de Mayo

Eta Aquarid meteor shower
Full Moon 11:35 PM ET

1961: Freedom 7 suborbital flight; Alan Shepard is first American in space

Sunday 6

Eta Aquarid meteor shower
Moon at perigee

1968: Neil Armstrong ejects safely from Lunar Landing Research Vehicle before it crashes
1975: NASA announces that Canada will build the Shuttle robot arm

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.