MISR, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer instrument, was successfully launched into sun-synchronous polar orbit aboard Terra, NASA's first Earth Observing System (EOS) spacecraft, on December 18, 1999. MISR measurements are designed to improve our understanding of the Earth's environment and climate. Viewing the sunlit Earth simultaneously at nine widely-spaced angles, MISR provides radiometrically and geometrically calibrated images in four spectral bands at each of the angles.
MISR provides new types of information for scientists studying Earth's climate, such as the partitioning of energy and carbon between the land surface and the atmosphere, and the regional and global impacts of different types of atmospheric particles and clouds on climate. The change in reflection at different view angles affords the means to distinguish different types of atmospheric particles (aerosols), cloud forms, and land surface covers. Combined with stereoscopic techniques, this enables construction of 3-D models and estimation of the total amount of sunlight reflected by Earth's diverse environments.
MISR acquires systematic multi-angle imagery for global monitoring of top-of-atmosphere and surface albedos and to measure the shortwave radiative properties of aerosols, clouds, and surface scenes in order to characterize their impact on the Earth's climate.
Illustrations of MISR instrument viewing the Earth: