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NASA finally launches PACE Earth science satellite

NASA’s recent achievement in launching the Plankton, Aerosol, Climate, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite marks a significant milestone in climate monitoring. Launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, the PACE spacecraft took off at 0133 EST (0633 UTC) on Thursday. With successful communication established, the mission is now underway.

PACE’s primary mission is to study the impact of global warming on microscopic plankton and aerosol particles. Equipped with cutting-edge instruments like a spectrometer and Multi-angle Polarimeters, the satellite aims to measure light intensity and polarization to map ocean colors and analyze sunlight angles. These measurements will provide crucial insights into phytoplankton activity and atmospheric conditions.

Karen St Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, emphasized the transformative potential of PACE’s observations in advancing our understanding of climate dynamics. By integrating data from PACE with other missions, such as the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission, NASA hopes to revolutionize ocean science research.

The journey to launch PACE has been years in the making, overcoming funding challenges in 2018 to secure nearly $964 million in funding. NASA administrator Bill Nelson commended the mission team on the successful launch, highlighting its contribution to addressing pressing climate issues and supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate agenda.

In summary, the successful launch of PACE represents a significant step forward in climate research. As the satellite begins its mission, it holds the promise of delivering valuable insights into Earth’s climate system and advancing our efforts to combat climate change.

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