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NASA Launches CubeSat to Study Heat Emissions From Earth’s Poles

Heat balance

NASA Launches CubeSat to Study Heat Emissions From Earth’s Poles

NASA has launched the first of its two climate satellites for the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment mission to study heat emissions from Earth’s poles.

The PREFIRE mission involves two small cube satellites designed to measure the amount of heat Earth radiates into space from the polar regions, providing data that will aid researchers in predicting changes in Earth’s ice, seas and weather, NASA said.

Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth science division, said the data collected by PREFIRE will improve humans’ understanding of how much heat the planet absorbs and releases and how Earth’s climate will change in the coming years.

The CubeSats carry thermal infrared spectrometers to measure far-infrared radiation from the Arctic and Antarctic regions, an area currently lacking detailed measurements, according to NASA.

Laurie Leshin, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, emphasized that the CubeSats, despite their size, will significantly advance knowledge of Earth’s heat balance.

NASA said ground controllers have established communication with the first CubeSat, while the second satellite is slated for launch soon. After a 30-day checkout, the mission will operate for 10 months.

The PREFIRE mission is a collaborative effort between NASA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Blue Canyon Technologies and Rocket Lab USA.

Category: Space