terra and aqua modis design, radiometry, and geometry in support of land remote sensingThe NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) mission includes the construction and launch of two nearly identical Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments. The MODIS proto-flight model (PFM) is onboard the EOS Terra satellite (formerly EOS AM-1) launched on December 18, 1999 and hereafter referred to as Terra MODIS. Flight model-1 (FM1) is onboard the EOS Aqua satellite (formerly EOS PM-1) launched on May 04, 2002 and referred to as Aqua MODIS. MODIS was developed based on the science community s desire to collect multiyear continuous datasets for monitoring changes in the Earth s land, oceans and atmosphere, and the human contributions to these changes. It was designed to measure discrete spectral bands, which includes many used by a number of heritage sensors, and thus extends the heritage datasets to better understand both long- and short-term changes in the global environment (Barnes and Salomonson 1993; Salomonson et al. 2002; Barnes et al. 2002). The MODIS development, launch, and operation were managed by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Maryland. The sensors were designed, built, and tested by Raytheon/ Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS), Goleta, California. Each MODIS instrument offers 36 spectral bands, which span the spectral region from the visible (0.41 m) to long-wave infrared (14.4 m). MODIS collects data at three different nadir spatial resolutions: 0.25, 0.5, and 1 km. Key design specifications, such as spectral bandwidths, typical scene radiances, required signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) or noise equivalent temperature differences (NEDT), and primary applications of each MODIS spectral band are summarized in Table 7.1. These parameters were the basis for the MODIS design. More details on the evolution of the NASA EOS and development of the MODIS instruments are provided in Chap. 1. This chapter focuses on the MODIS sensor design, radiometry, and geometry as they apply to land remote sensing. With near-daily coverage of the Earth's surface, MODIS provides comprehensive measurements that enable scientists and policy makers to better understand and effectively manage the natural resources on both regional and global scales. Terra, the first large multisensor EOS satellite, is operated in a 10:30 am (local equatorial crossing time, descending southwards) polar orbit. Aqua, the second multisensor EOS satellite is operated in a 1:30 pm (local equatorial crossing time, ascending northwards) polar orbit. With complementing morning and afternoon observations, the Terra and Aqua MODIS, together with other sensors housed on both satellites, have greatly improved our understanding of the dynamics of the global environmental system.