July 14, 2014 AT 7:30 am

How NASA uses the full moon to calibrate its earth-gazing satellite #space

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Gizmodo posted about how NASA’a Landsat 8 satellite uses the moon to calibrate.

The full moon—like yesterday’s glorious event—is a great show for us here on Earth. But for NASA, it also plays a critical role in keeping its Landsat 8 satellite working properly. How? By using the moon exactly like a photographer uses a light meter.

Landsat 8 is all about Earth: It’s designed to image our planet for use by the government and us citizens. But once in a full moon, this little satellite pulls its gaze from its main priority and turns in a different direction: The moon. Because the full moon is so bright, it provides a chance for NASA’s engineers to make sure Landsat is reading Earth’s more patchy brightness levels clearly.

Because the moon has no atmosphere and a surface that’s uniform, it’s the most stable place for NASA to check Landsat against.

Read more.


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