Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, began studying lightning from space in 1997, with a sophisticated piece of flight hardware called a Lightning Imaging Sensor launched into space as part of NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM). The sensor had a three-year baseline mission and delivered data used to improve weather forecasts. It continues to operate successfully aboard the TRMM satellite today. Now these scientists are going to launch a second lightning sensor to space aboard a SpaceX rocket, this time to the International Space Station. The flight is scheduled for early 2016. Once mounted to ISS, the lightning sensor will have at least a two-year baseline mission.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.