September 19, 2018

21.01.11: Earth Observations set for Glory.

Yesterday, NASA gave a sneak peek look at its latest tool in its arsenal in the quest for the understanding of global climate change. Glory arrived at Vandenberg Air force Base last week and is set for a pre-dawn launch atop a Taurus XL 3110 four-stage rocket on February 23rd.

Glory will join the afternoon constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit known as the “A-Train” that includes such notables as the Aqua, Aura, Calypso, and Parasol observatories. Glory sports two primary instruments; the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) and the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS).

Glory hopes to answer a big question in the ongoing debate on global warming trends; how much of a role do airborne aerosols play in climate change? Glory will fill in a crucial gap in our knowledge in how our climate is changing and the role that biological/technological activity has had to play. Glory may also provide crucial data on an often overlooked facet of the global warming dilemma; that of total albedo, cloud cover and global dimming.

Glory will be the first Earth observing satellite that NASA has fielded in over two years, the last attempt being the ill-fated Orbiting Carbon Observatory that failed to achieve orbit in early 2009. Climate studies and data are of vital importance, as 2010 was one of the hottest years on record and the position of the climate change deniers has become increasingly difficult to support. Glory is slated for a 3 year primary mission and a 5 year extended mission with onboard consumables. No matter what your affiliation, we’ve only got one planet to share; time to start studying it!

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