NASA’s CloudSat completes mission to “spy” on the heart of the clouds | nnda nnrt | DATA

NASA’s CloudSat completes mission to “spy” on the heart of the clouds | nnda nnrt | DATA
NASA’s CloudSat completes mission to “spy” on the heart of the clouds | nnda nnrt | DATA

For nearly two decades, armed with a powerful radar, CloudSat provided never-before-seen details of clouds and helped advance weather and climate predictions on Earth.

Originally it was only going to be in operation for a 22-month mission: however, CloudSat far exceeded the planned time, becoming a stealthy spy in the terrestrial sky. This NASA mission examined hurricanes, tallied snowfall, and achieved weather and climate firsts. After almost 18 years of observing clouds, the spacecraft was dismantled.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) stated on its official website that, as planned, the spacecraft, having reached the end of its useful life, could no longer make periodic observations. “It was placed last month into an orbit that will cause its eventual disintegration in the atmosphere.”, it was detailed.

CloudSat was launched in 2006 and its cloud profiling radar was the first 94 GHz wavelength (W band) to fly in space. It was a thousand times more sensitive than the ground-based weather radars of the time, so it gained a new view of the clouds.

Graeme Stephens, principal investigator of the JPL mission, said that with CloudSat, scientists for the first time were able to observe clouds and precipitation together. “Without clouds, humans would not exist, because they provide the fresh water that life as we know it requires.he stated. “We sometimes refer to them as intelligent little demons because of their confusing properties. Clouds have been an enigma in terms of predicting climate change“added the scientist.

The clouds have hidden many secrets until the arrival of CloudSat. NASA highlights that thanks to the mission, progress has been made in understanding how clouds can cool and heat the atmosphere and surface. Likewise, it has had an important contribution to the aviation industry, since more is known about how they can cause ice on airplanes.

The information collected by CloudSat has been used in thousands of published investigations and continues to help scientists make new discoveries, including how much water and ice clouds have on a global scale, or how they affect the melting of the poles.

 
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