NASA’s PACE Satellite, Almost Scrapped, Successfully Launches

NASA’s latest near-billion-dollar climate-monitoring satellite, PACE, was successfully launched on Thursday by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 0133 EST (0633 UTC). The Plankton, Aerosol, Climate, ocean Ecosystem spacecraft is set to study how microscopic plankton and aerosol particles are impacted by global warming.

The primary payloads for PACE include a spectrometer to measure the intensity of light and Multi-angle Polarimeters to measure the polarization of sunlight as it passes through clouds, aerosols, and the ocean. The color of oceans can reveal a wealth of information about phytoplankton levels in surrounding waters. This tiny algae can form huge dense blooms observable from space.

PACE’s ability to measure the different angles of UV-to-shortwave sunlight allows scientists to probe the size and composition of particles that can impact weather. This will provide a wealth of information and data to further study the ocean’s role in the climate cycle. The satellite will profoundly advance scientists’ knowledge on the complexity of interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.

PACE was first proposed decades ago but faced several delays due to funding cuts from various administrations. However, in 2018, it faced funding cuts from the Trump administration, but Congress came through with funding of around $964 million. These missions are supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate change agenda and are vital in answering urgent questions about our changing climate.

By Editor

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