Feb 8, 2024

SpaceX launches billion-dollar environmental research satellite for NASA

Posted by in categories: biological, climatology, education, satellites, sustainability

SpaceX launched an environmental research satellite for NASA early Thursday, a nearly $1 billion spacecraft that survived multiple cancellation threats and is now poised to shed new light on climate change and the complex interplay of heat-trapping carbon, aerosols and sea life on global scales.

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem mission — PACE — “will dramatically advance our understanding of the relationship between aerosols and clouds, and the global energy balance,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth sciences division. “This is one of the biggest sources of uncertainty in our ability to model the climate.”

She said PACE is “going to teach us about the oceans in the same way that Webb (the James Webb Space Telescope) is teaching us about the cosmos.” And that includes “a tremendous amount about ocean biology.”

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