Tasks are TROPICS, EMIT, JPSS and SWOT. They each offer something unique and add a new way of understanding and protecting our home
If you want to explore the Earth, space is the best place to go. Although space-looking spacecraft such as the Hubble and the much-anticipated James Webb Space Telescope have caught the public’s attention – understandable by the spectacular images of distant astronomical phenomena – most orbiting satellites actually focus on our planet. Viewing the Earth from space has unique benefits for scientists who measure immeasurable changes and shapes from the Earth. In 2022 NASA will launch four new geological missions, each offering something unique and adding a new way of understanding and protecting our home:
1. Time-varying observations of rainfall structures and storm strength using a group of small satellites (Tropics)
The first task is TROPICS, which is not a satellite, but a set of six smaller satellites. These small satellites will collectively study tropical storms. They will make microwave measurements of these large storms and be able to observe rainfall levels, temperature and humidity as they form. Although the size of the satellites is small, the advantage of TROPICS over traditional weather satellites is their ability to make frequent measurements, and it makes it easier to see how storms form and change over time. The result will be better models and forecasts when tropical storms occur.
2. Exploring the sources of mineral dust in the earth (EMIT)
EMIT is not a spaceship, but an instrument that will be connected to the International Space Station in 2022. Its main purpose is to study dust in the Earth’s atmosphere, dust collected in arid regions and carried around the world. .
3. Common polar satellite system ( JPSS )
The “pole” in the name of this work does not refer to the object of study, but to the type of path. JBSS is an array of satellites orbiting the Earth from the North Pole to the South, allowing the Earth to rotate downward and explore the entire Earth twice a day. These meteorological satellites provide information on temperatures in the oceans and atmosphere and wildfires and other major weather events.
4. Landscape of water and surface days (SWOT)
SWOT is a large single satellite designed to measure water level changes in the Earth’s oceans, lakes and rivers. This is the first global study of the world’s surface water bodies.
The SWOT satellite is connected to a base in the center of the Thales Alenia spacecraft in Cannes. Credit: Emmanuel Pride (Wikimedia Commons)
SWOT enables a key capability that the Earth’s surveillance navy does not currently have, and its importance will increase in the coming years as climate change and overuse contribute to water scarcity in many parts of the world. The amount of freshwater available through SWOT can provide researchers with information about changes in river trajectories and changes in sea level over the seasons. Its main device is a radar interferometer, which sends a signal to the surface of the water and picks it up using two different antennas.
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