Next month, NASA will launch a three-year mission to study Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from space using the PACE Satellite.
PACE Stands for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and Ocean Satellite. It’s scheduled to launch as soon as February 6, and will help gather data to help fight air pollution and climate change.
“The ocean and atmosphere interact in ways that need ongoing research to fully understand. With PACE, we’ll open our eyes to many new aspects of climate change.”Jeremy Werdell, project scientist for the PACE mission
According to NASA, Climate Change’s impact on the ocean is leading to sea levels rising, as well as marine heat haves to a loss of biodiversity.
One thing PACE will help NASA do is view Phytoplankton. These are microscopic organisms that float near the water’s surface. They form the center of the aquatic food web, providing food to all sorts of animals. Normally, a single Phytoplankton can’t be seen with the naked eye. However, communities of them can be seen from space.
NASA also tells us that these organisms are responding to changes in their environment, such as differences in ocean temperatures. From space, NASA should see these changes in differences in hue, which will allow scientists to their abundance and diversity at a global scale.
While the satellite’s color-detecting instrument will see the changes in these creatures, the satellite also carries two different instruments. They are called SPEXone and HARP2, and they use properties of light to observe aerosol particles and clouds. Scientists hope to use these instruments to measure the microscopic particles in our atmosphere.
Image Source: NASA Earth Observatory