NASA's newest Earth observation satellite launched a step (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean Ecosystem) is dedicated to climate science and helping researchers learn more about the relationship between the atmosphere and the oceans.
Satellite observing technology has been used to study Earth's atmosphere and oceans for decades, but with a spectrograph and two polarimeters on board, PACE will provide a major leap forward by providing new data on clouds, aerosols and phytoplankton in our oceans.
PACE will provide new insight into clouds and aerosols within the atmosphere, and microscopic phytoplankton in the ocean, which could help reveal more about the impact of climate change on marine life and ocean health.
Changes in phytoplankton populations can appear in different colors on the ocean surface, and with PACE, these color differences will be more noticeable. Phytoplankton also interact with microscopic airborne particles called aerosols. Clouds form in the atmosphere when water vapor condenses on these molecules. Aerosols can sometimes be the result of wildfires and pollution. Often, the sedimented particles end up on the ocean surface, which can encourage phytoplankton blooms.
Scientists will use data from PACE instruments to measure the size, composition and amount of aerosols found within the atmosphere. This information will help scientists better understand how clouds and aerosols interact and the impact on ocean health. Together, these puzzle pieces can reveal greater insights about climate change.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will follow a path along the south polar path and enter PACE into a sun-synchronous orbit. It is scheduled to take off 1:33 AM EST.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is responsible for the mission, including design and manufacture of the spacecraft and instrument development. The agency's Launch Services Program (LSP) headquartered at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida manages the launch service for the mission.
PACE is the first LSP launch to polar orbit from the Florida Space Coast, and NASA's first since 1960. Other launches to polar orbit have been from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. SpaceX launched into polar orbit from Florida for other customers.
To learn more about PACE, visit:
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