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 aim of the TROPICS mission is to observe tropical cyclones via a constellation of small satellites (SmallSats) equipped with a high-performance microwave sounder—the TROPICS Millimeter-wave Sounder.
TES was an infrared sensor that measured chemical components of Earth’s troposphere including ozone, water vapor, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and nitric acid.
The first space-based instrument to monitor major air pollutants across the North American continent every daylight hour at high spatial resolution.
Uses passive remote sensing to measure, at the top of the atmosphere (TOA), the solar radiation reflected by and radiated from the earth.
Provided scanning laser altimetry data points of Alaskan glaciers and parts of East and West Antarctica.
UAVSAR produces polarimetric and interferometric products that highlight different features and show changes in the earth over time.
UARS was the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical constituents of the atmosphere with a goal of better understanding atmospheric photochemistry and transport.
A scanning radiometer which provides high resolution observations on cloud coverage, cloud type, and cloud top temperatures.
VIIRS collects visible and infrared imagery along with global observations of Earth’s land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and ocean.
The WFC is a modified version of the commercial off-the-shelf Ball Aerosopace CT-633 star tracker camera.
XUV Photometer System (XPS)