NASA’s PACE satellite successfully launches into orbit

NASA’s PACE satellite successfully launches into orbit

The PACE satellite mission, aiming to research the impact of microscopic particles and life, has recently launched.

News Published 2024.02.23 | Ryan Lee 


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket containing NASA’s PACE mission satellite was successfully launched into orbit on February 8, 2024, at 1:33 AM EST. It was launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

The PACE satellite, managed by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, is an acronym for Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and ocean Ecosystem satellite. Being one of NASA’s many Earth-observing satellites, the PACE satellite aims to research the impact of microscopic particles in the atmosphere and the microscopic life in the ocean from Earth’s orbit. 


PACE’s main goal is to identify and investigate the relationships between different properties of Earth. These include the impact of aerosols on phytoplankton growth and the carbon dioxide exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean. Having more understanding in these areas will provide great economic and social assistance to humanity. For example, its ability to collect data on the ocean and the microorganisms inside allows people to easily track harmful algal blooms and environmental changes in the marine environment. Moreover, PACE’s observations can also benefit areas such as disaster impacts, ecological forecasting, and air quality.

So, how are such complex activities involving microscopic organisms done when the satellite is so far above? 


The image above shows the various instruments of the PACE satellite that allow all the miracles to happen. The Ocean Color Instrument (OCI) allows the satellite to analyze oceans through ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light, which is what makes it able to detect the distribution of phytoplankton. The two polarimeters on the satellite, HARP-2 and SPEXone, observe the interaction of sunlight and particles in the atmosphere. This provides researchers with information on aerosols, cloud properties, and air quality. With the instrument and the polarimeters combined, PACE can research the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.

#NASA #Goddard #PACE #Aerosol

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