On the Edge: NASA’s Last S-MODE Mission Studies the Ocean’s Surface

NASA has taken to the seas and skies to study the unique environment at the ocean’s surface, where marine ecosystems intersect with our planet's complex atmosphere. On April 7, 2023, scientists participating in the Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) embarked on the RV Sally Ride from San Diego on the last of three field expeditions to understand the ocean’s role in the Earth’s changing climate. They will be at sea for about a month until returning to San Diego on May 4, and they will operate for most of that period in tandem with an accompanying airborne campaign.

Kelly Luis, a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, uses a handheld instrument called the Spectral Evolution to measure water color during the Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) mission. Image Credit: NASA/Avery Snyder