MODIS (Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) is a payload scientific instrument launched into Earth orbit by NASA in 1999 on board the Terra (EOS AM) Satellite, and in 2002 on board the Aqua (EOS PM) satellite. The instruments capture data in 36 spectral bands and at varying spatial resolutions. Together the instruments image the entire Earth every 1 to 2 days. They are designed to provide measurements in large-scale global dynamics including changes in Earth’s cloud cover, radiation budget and processes occurring in the oceans, on land, and in the lower atmosphere.
NASA claims that,
These data will improve our understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower atmosphere. MODIS is playing a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our environment.
The MODIS homepage has a great gallery of images which has kept me occupied for quite a while. The trick is to click through to the super hi-res versions of each photo and marvel at the captured detail.
Truly eye-opening stuff.