Bob Estes: It’s Working – CERES First Light!

Robert (Bob) Estes, MSPM student and NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Deputy Project Manager, Flight Projects Directorate announced that the CERES is working!

Bob shared images of the first light observed by the CERES FM6 instrument on orbit. The CERES instrument was one of the five that launched November 18, 2017 aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1). After reaching the polar orbit, the satellite became NOAA-20.

Following successful JPSS-1 launch, CERES was deployed on orbit and began scanning Earth on January 10, 2018. Scientists used those scans to produce “light” images (see photos below).

In an email from Bob, he says “In all my years at NASA,  I don’t think I have ever had such an emotional reaction as when I viewed these images.  It is so humbling to see the instrument in operations and I am so grateful to all of the CERES team whose contributions have made this event possible.”

CERES is one of the many examples where project management is applied. It is a testament to the applicability of this discipline in scientific discoveries.

In this shortwave image from CERES FM6, the white and green shades represent thick cloud cover reflecting incoming solar energy back to space. Compare that with the darker blue regions, which have no cloud cover, to get a sense for just how much clouds can affect the balance of incoming and outgoing energy on Earth.
Credits: NASA
In this longwave image from CERES FM6, heat energy radiated from Earth is represented by shades of yellow, red, blue and white. Bright yellow regions are the hottest and emit the most energy out to space. Dark blue and bright white regions, which represent clouds, are much colder and emit the least energy.
Credits: NASA