Earth, as seen from nearly a million miles away by the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite. Image Credit: NASA

EnvironmentTechnology USA20. May 2024

Six Missions By Air to Better Understand Our Planet

The American independent space agency NASA has launched six new airborne missions to offer targeted insights—from the Earth’s functioning to how science can be put into action to better serve and help people.

“Much of what we do uses that unique vantage point of space to see the whole globe, but we perform science at multiple levels, including from aircraft, and that gives us an ability to see detailed studies to understand how phenomena are operating and how the Earth is operating at the local scale,” explains Karen St. Germain, NASA’s Earth Science Division director.

With a budget of $120 million, the six new airborne missions – arctic coastal change, weather created by wildfires, urban air pollution, impacts of changing weather patterns on landscapes, retreating glaciers, and agriculture – focusing on studying our changing planet will be deployed between 2026 and 2029. Over time, NASA developed unique and sophisticated Earth-observing systems that can collect data and interpret them to find solutions, including the new Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and Ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite to study some of the tiniest organisms on our planet, phytoplankton. Through PACE, not only will microscopic life be studied, but also different types of particles in the air, leading to a better understanding of the planet’s changing climate and addressing concerns of fishery health, toxic algae blooms, wildfire smoke, and air pollution.


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