NASA plans to launch four Earth science missions in 2022

NASA plans to launch four Earth science missions in 2022

The Earth Science Division of NASA intends to deploy four satellite flights in the year 2022 to gather data on seas, weather, mineral dust, and surface water. TROPICS (Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation Structure and Storm Intensity with a Constellation of SmallSats) is the first on the list. There are 6 TROPICS cubesats are set to launch aboard an Astra Space rocket in March.

The TROPICS constellation is going to offer researchers with data after every 60 minutes, compared to each 4 hours for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s polar-orbiting satellites. During an online news conference for American Geophysical Union’s fall conference in New Orleans on December 13, William Blackwell, who is the associate group leader as well as principal investigator of the TROPICS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, remarked.

“Improve the forecast of hurricane intensity and routes,” Blackwell added, citing regular observations of emerging storms as an example. “This will help with disaster relief and supporting people in avoiding these devastating storms.” TROPICS, a NASA pathfinder cubesat that launched in June on a SpaceX Transporter-2 piggyback mission, is supporting mission planners with all from instrument operation to the data processing and communications.


Mineral Dust

NASA’s second Earth Science mission, EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation), has been scheduled to deploy in 2022. EMIT will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in May and deployed on an external platform. As per NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory principal investigator Robert Green, EMIT will next provide data “to address our gap in the grasp of the mineral dust heating or perhaps even cooling of the Earth currently and in the future.”

Strong winds in the globe’s arid land regions carry mineral dust into atmosphere. Here, it can gather or deflect radiation. Mineral dust is important because it aids in the melting of snow and the creation of clouds. It acts as a fertilizer for the biological processes in both oceans and tropical forests. According to Green, it is also harmful to breathe and impairs vision.


The Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2)

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket will deploy NOAA’s second Joint Polar Satellite System from the Vandenberg Space Force Base station in California in September. JPSS is going to be equipped with Raytheon’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder, Ball Aerospace’s Ozone Mapping, and Profiler Suite, as well as L3Harris Technologies’ Cross-track Infrared Sounder, just as its predecessors NOAA 20 and Suomi NPP. The JPPS-2 two satellite, that is going to be named NOAA 21 after deployment, is totally integrated and undergoing testing, according to Satya Kalluri, a program scientist for the NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System.


Maintaining a record of the water cycle

SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography), which is the NASA’s final Earth research mission for 2022, is a collaboration between NASA and the French Space Agency CNES, with help from the UK and Canadian space agencies. SWOT is a pioneer to illustrate a radar altimeter “to quantify the altitude of water surface in 2 dimensions with a spatial resolution of about 1,000 times higher than that of a conventional altimeter,” according to Lee-Leung Fu, a SWOT project scientist as well as senior research scientist at the JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). SWOT will use two radar antennas split by a 10-meter mast to create comprehensive maps of the ocean surface elevation.

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