Sensors are instruments that collect data about Earth processes or atmospheric components. Along with being carried aboard satellites or aircraft, sensors also can be installed on the ground (in situ). There are two types of sensors: active and passive. Active sensors provide their own source of energy to illuminate the objects they observe; passive sensors detect energy emitted or reflected from the environment. The following list describes sensors aboard NASA and joint NASA missions.

The airborne AR system provides a high-resolution profile of the top of the ice.
The primary instrument on the GOES-R Series for imaging Earth's weather, oceans and environment.
AHI provides a number of improvements over previous capabilities, including better forecasting, improved numerical weather prediction accuracy, and enhanced environmental monitoring.
AMPR is sensitive to the emission and scattering of precipitation-size ice, liquid water, and water vapor.
AMR-2 measures atmospheric water vapor and liquid water content.
AMR-C is a radar altimeter that measures sea-surface height.
AMSR2 provides data on global precipitation, ocean wind speed, water vapor, sea ice concentration, brightness temperature, and soil moisture.
AMSR-E acquires data about Earth's water cycle and measured precipitation rate, cloud water, water vapor, sea surface winds, sea surface temperature, ice, snow, and soil moisture.
AMSU-A obtains upper atmosphere temperature profiles and provides a cloud-filtering capability for tropospheric temperature observations.
ASTER obtains high-resolution images of the Earth in 14 different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from visible to thermal infrared light.
ATMS provides global high-resolution profiles of temperature and moisture.
ATLAS acquires elevation measurements in cryospheric as well as temperate regions. It also can detect shallow water features such as coral reefs and ocean waves.
AVHRR acquires measurements of land and sea surface temperature, cloud cover, snow and ice cover, soil moisture, and vegetation indices.
ATM, a scanning laser altimeter, measures changes in ice surface elevation.
AVIRIS is used to identify, measure, and monitor constituents of Earth's surface and atmosphere based on molecular absorption and particle scattering signatures.
AIRS collects daily global measurements of water vapor and temperature profiles. It is one of four instruments comprising the AIRS Project Instrument Suite.
CPR measures the power backscattered by clouds as a function of distance from the radar.
CALIOP is a two-wavelength lidar that provides high-resolution vertical profiles of aerosols and clouds.
CATS is a lidar remote sensing instrument that provides range-resolved profile measurements of atmospheric aerosols and clouds from the International Space Station.
CERES measures reflected solar and emitted thermal infrared radiation from Earth.
CrIS provides global high-resolution profiles of temperature and moisture.
DDMI acquires signals used to provide measurements of wind speed over the ocean.
DIAL sends pulses of laser radiation at different wavelengths into the atmosphere to measure ozone and also simultaneously measure aerosols and clouds.
DMS is an airborne digital camera system that captures images of terrain below low and medium altitude aircraft and creates mosaics of those images.