NASA PACE mission to study climate change | Inquirer Technology

NASA PACE mission will study climate change

/ 07:00 AM February 13, 2024

Global warming and climate change have been worsening for years despite our best efforts. The Earth’s temperature recently increased by 2°C, threatening humans, animals, and plants. We need more information about this phenomenon to form more effective solutions, but that will require an overview of the situation. Fortunately, NASA has an answer. 

On February 8, 2024, it launched the PACE satellite to get an overview of the Earth’s climate change from outer space. It has specialized equipment that will analyze how global warming is affecting life so that we can understand climate change further. As a result, researchers hope they can gain more data for more potent climate solutions.

I will elaborate on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s climate research. Later, I will discuss another astounding idea to fight global warming.


What is the NASA PACE mission?

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean Ecosystem satellite last week. As mentioned, PACE’s goal is to gauge the health of our planet amid climate change. 


It would monitor the impact of invisible objects like microscopic life and particles in the air and water. The satellite’s hyperspectral ocean color instrument will help experts measure oceans and other bodies of water across a wide light spectrum.

The latter includes ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light, which will let scientists track phytoplankton. Consequently, they and coastal resource managers can use the data to forecast the status of fisheries, spot harmful algal blooms, and identify marine environment changes. 

The NASA PACe satellite also has two polarimeter instruments: the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter #2 and the Spectro-polarimeter for Planetary Exploration.

They will detect how sunlight affects atmospheric particles and show more information on aerosols, cloud properties, and air quality. The space agency will use these tools to understand the interaction of the ocean and the atmosphere and how climate change affects them.

“Observations and scientific research from PACE will profoundly advance our knowledge of the ocean’s role in the climate cycle,” said Karen St. Germain, the director of NASA’s Earth Science Division.

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“The value of PACE data skyrockets when we combine it with data and science from our Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission – ushering in a new era of ocean science.”

“As an open-source science mission with early adopters ready to use its research and data, PACE will accelerate our understanding of the Earth system and help NASA deliver actionable science, data, and practical applications to help our coastal communities and industries address rapidly evolving challenges.” 

Learn more about this climate change mission on the NASA webpage.

Should we block sunlight to fight climate change?

We’ve had global accords to fight climate change, and we’ve been changing some parts of daily life, such as using paper straws. However, these measures seem to have been ineffective in reversing global warming.

That is why Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers thought we needed a bold plan to save our planet. Believe it or not, they proposed deploying a shade or “sail” nine million miles from Earth. 

Then, it would move through space by opening and closing its shading layer. “We at the Technion are not going to save the planet,” project leader Yoram Rozen said. “But we’re going to show that it can be done.” 

He and his team call their initiative Cool Earth. It would require a “giant umbrella” of roughly one million square miles, approximately the size of Argentina. 

Of course, launching such a structure from the Earth to space is almost impossible. That is why Rozen and his colleagues propose sending smaller shades that will work together. 

They have not disclosed the material for this space umbrella, but they will ensure a flexible design that will take them to the first Lagrange point (L1). 

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“[The demonstrator satellite] will perform a variable movement towards the sun and back to the Earth by controlling the shading sail,” the team said. 

“In this way, the satellite will be able to maintain its position in space for a significant duration and without dependence on complex propulsion systems.” 

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Learn more about this out-of-this-world recommendation in my other article. Also, check the latest digital trends at Inquirer Tech.


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