||Terra (formerly known as EOS/AM-1) is a joint Earth observing mission within NASA's ESE (Earth Science Enterprise) program between the United States, Japan, and Canada. The US provided the spacecraft, the launch, and three instruments developed by NASA (CERES, MISR, MODIS). Japan provided ASTER and Canada MOPITT. The Terra spacecraft is considered the flagship of NASA's EOS (Earth Observing Satellite) program.
The objective of the mission is to obtain information about the physical and radiative properties of clouds (ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS); air-land and air-sea exchanges of energy, carbon, and water (ASTER, MISR, MODIS); measurements of trace gases (MOPITT); and volcanology (ASTER, MISR, MODIS). The science objectives are:
To provide the first global and seasonal measurements of the Earth system, including such critical functions as biological productivity of the land and oceans, snow and ice, surface temperature, clouds, water vapor, and land cover;
To improve the ability to detect human impacts on the Earth system and climate, identify the "fingerprint" of human activity on climate, and predict climate change by using the new global observations in climate models;
To help develop technologies for disaster prediction, characterization, and risk reduction from wildfires, volcanoes, floods, and droughts
To start long-term monitoring of global climate change and environmental change.