On Thursday, a climate satellite launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida, by NASA. Its purpose is to gather unprecedented information about the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere.
Before sunrise, SpaceX successfully launched the Pace satellite on a costly $948 million mission. The Falcon rocket traveled south over the Atlantic Ocean to reach a unique polar orbit.
The satellite will orbit at a distance of 420 miles (676 kilometers) for a minimum of three years, gathering data on the world’s oceans and atmosphere. Two of its scientific instruments will conduct daily scans of the Earth, while a third will take monthly measurements.
Project scientist Jeremy Werdell stated that it will be an unparalleled sight of our Earth.
The gathered data will aid in the enhancement of hurricane and severe weather predictions, monitor Earth’s transformations due to rising temperatures, and enhance the ability to forecast harmful algae bloom occurrences.
NASA already has more than two dozen Earth-observing satellites and instruments in orbit. But Pace should give better insights into how atmospheric aerosols like pollutants and volcanic ash and sea life like algae and plankton interact with each other.
“According to Karen St. Germain, the director of Earth science at NASA, the addition of Pace will provide a unique perspective in comparison to other satellites.”
Pace, which stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem, is the most cutting-edge mission to date aimed at researching ocean biology.
According to Werdell, current satellites used for observing Earth can detect seven to eight different colors. However, the upcoming Pace satellite will have the capability to detect 200 colors, enabling scientists to accurately identify various types of algae in the ocean and particles present in the atmosphere.
Researchers anticipate receiving data within the next month or two.
NASA and India are working together on a new, high-tech satellite that will be launched this year. The satellite, called Nisar, will use radar technology to track the impact of increasing temperatures on glaciers and other frozen surfaces.
Despite attempts by the Trump administration to terminate it, NASA’s Pace project persisted.
As they say, it has been a long and peculiar journey,” Werdell stated prior to the launch.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group provides assistance to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. The AP is solely responsible for the creation and publication of all content.