Blast from the past as 1950s data retrieved

Half a century ago, NASA launched the Nimbus-1 satellite. It was designed to test key instruments for the weather satellites that would come after it, and it worked for just under one month. A successful series of Nimbus satellites followed. At the time, their data was not expected to be useful beyond the immediate weather forecasting it was intended for.

Fast-forward a few decades and researchers from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences asked for the data to contribute to their study of the Greenland ice sheet. They found out that the information from Nimbus still existed, but needed a little work.

The records were kept on film, catalogued by orbit, not by subject. The scientists realised they would have to look at all the film to find what they need so they formed a project to digitise the reels of film that were being stored at the US National Climatic Data Center.

You can find out more about the information the team has retrieved here.

About the Author

Ruth McAvinia

Ruth McAvinia

Learning Zone Writer

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