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ESA launches space mission to measure Earth’s climate change

The European Space Agency (ESA) approved a new mission that aims to measure the climate changes that are happening on Earth. Its main objective will be to provide an accurate measure of the light reflected on Earth.

ESA launches space mission to measure Earth's climate change
Art: The TRUTHS satellite will work with other satellites to calibrate and validate observations. UKSA / NPL

Known as Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial- and Helio-Studies (TRUTHS), the mission was approved by ESA after a meeting with scientists and engineers from its member states.

The scientific aspect of the mission will be addressed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of Great Britain, which plans to equip the TRUTHS satellite with an instrument known as a cryogenic radiometer. This device is used to accurately measure the intensity of a light source.

Using this instrument in conjunction with a hyperspectral camera, TRUTHS will measure how much light is being reflected on the Earth’s surface. This includes the planet’s oceans, deserts, snow fields and forests.

As the data that will be collected by TRUTHS will be the first of its kind, it will serve as a standard for Earth’s reflectivity. They can be used and compared with new data that will be collected in future missions 10 to 15 years from now.

According to the scientists, the information that will be collected by the TRUTHS satellite may help policy makers to approve plans and regulations aimed at environmental issues.

By having a clear idea of ​​the amount of light reflected on Earth, scientists will be able to monitor the planet’s climate fingerprint. Specifically, they will be able to measure the heat radiating from the planet. Future missions can use TRUTH data to check changes in Earth’s climate.

Professor Nigel Fox of the NPL said in a statement, according to BBC:

In doing so, we will be able to detect subtle changes much sooner than with our current observation system.

This will allow us to restrict and test climate forecasting models. Therefore, we will know earlier if the predicted temperatures that the models are giving us are consistent or not with the observations.

The TRUTHS mission does not yet have an exact launch date, but officials from ESA member states plan to deploy it sometime in 2026.

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Planet Earth

How much snow has melted due to record high temperatures in Antarctica?

Antarctica has long been considered the coldest place on our planet, but now it cannot be called that. It is believed that the average annual temperature on a snowy continent should be approximately -57 degrees Celsius.

However, on February 6, 2020, the territory of Antarctica was in a fixed record high air temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius. These data were provided by employees of the Esperanza research station, which is located in the far north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Warm weather lasted about a week and it provoked the melting of a fairly large amount of snow. The effects of record air temperatures are especially noticeable on Eagle Island, whose snow cover has melted greatly.

Melting ice in Antarctica can kill many species of animals

The consequences of warming in Antarctica were described in the scientific publication Sciencelert. Eagle Island is located near a part of the Antarctic Peninsula, referred to as Graham Land. At the end of 2019, the island was covered with snow and ice, but now, due to the sudden warming of the air, it looks like an ordinary patch of moist land with snowy patches. In addition, ponds formed from melted ice in its center, which cannot drain into the sea.

The effects of warming in Antarctica

The effects of an increase in air temperature in Antarctica are clearly visible in the images sent by the Landsat 8 satellite. They clearly show how, in just a dozen days, Eagle Island lost a huge part of the ice cover. It is reported that during this short period of time the island lost about 10 centimeters of snow and ice. According to glaciologist Mauri Pelto, who has been studying natural ice for many years, melting of ice and snow in such a speed has never been observed in Antarctica. At least, he had not yet encountered such phenomena.

As a rule, the ice of Greenland melts most and most noticeably. We were made sure about this fact  back in 2015, when a group of scientists led by Eric Rinho from the University of California came to this conclusion. Moreover, some scientists are confident that due to the gradual increase in the temperature of the Earth’s air, Greenland may soon completely lose its ice cover. This threatens that the level of the oceans will rise dramatically, which will harm both people and animals.

Eagle Island taken on Landsat 8 satellite

Glaciologist Mauri Pelto also emphasized that it was scary not that the ice on Eagle Island had melted so quickly, but that such events were happening more and more often. The previous temperature record in Antarctica was recorded on March 24, 2015, when the air warmed up to 17.5 degrees Celsius. In 2020, the air temperature was as much as 18.3 degrees Celsius. What surprises will be presented to us by nature in the future, no one knows. Perhaps we are waiting for new temperature records, and the melting of ice and snow on Eagle Island is just nothing compared to what is coming.

In general, scientists from the University of California at Davis believe that nothing good awaits people in the future. According to them, humanity will boil alive, like “frogs in boiling water.”

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Planet Earth

An engineer who believed in the theory of a flat earth died when his rocket was launched

Mike Hughes, nicknamed Mad Mike, a well-known amateur engineer flying on makeshift rockets, died during one of his experiments on Saturday in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported citing his agent.

Mad Mike was remembered by the general public for his faith in the theory of a flat Earth. In 2018, he told the Associated Press that the Earth was “Frisbee-shaped” and that he intended to fly into space to make sure it was.

On Saturday, Hughes planned to climb five thousand feet on his makeshift desert rocket near the town of Barstow, California. The event was supposed to be shown in the special program “Home Astronauts”. 

The video of spectators who arrived to watch the launch captures the launch of his rocket, the parachute that did not work on time and the fatal fall of the amateur astronaut.

Mike’s agent suggested that Mike might have lost consciousness during the launch of the rocket and as a result did not activate the parachute. He fell 2600 feet from the place where the rocket was launched.

It is worth noting that Mike was going to launch his home-made steam rocket in August last year, but as a result, his plans were postponed.

For decades, Hughes has performed tricks from jumping in a limousine over long distances to flying on rockets made from improvised materials. In 2018, Mike’s rocket rose to a height of 1.9 thousand feet and then landed in the Mojave Desert.

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Planet Earth

How our planet appeared: an unexpected scenario of the origin of earth

© Photo: ZUMAPRESS.com, Globallookpress

Our planet could appear in a completely different scenario, which differs from previously proposed versions.

In the early stages of the existence of the solar system, the Earth took much less time to finally form. This is the conclusion made by researchers from the University of Copenhagen after analyzing iron isotopes found in meteorites. It is reported by Science Alert.

According to the results of a new study, the Earth has become a full-fledged planet in 5 million years – this is several times faster than previous models believed. An interesting fact remains that scientists are not yet completely sure how the formation of planets proceeds. As long as there is a general picture: a huge cloud of dust and gas revolves around the stars, which eventually turns into a flat disk, the elements of which become planets over time – therefore, objects in the solar system are approximately in the same plane around the sun.

Planets appear when the particles of cosmic dust and stones adhere – when they become larger, the force of gravity also grows, which helps to attract more and more objects. Ultimately, such interaction leads to the appearance of planets. It was believed that this requires several tens of millions of years, at least for the Earth.

In composition, the Earth differs from other objects in the solar system – it contains much less Fe-54, an isotope of iron. A similar composition is observed in carbonaceous chondrites.

If the Earth had formed over a longer period, its mantle would have contained more remnants of various meteorites, including those with a high Fe-54 content. Accordingly, the core of the planet should have appeared early enough due to rain from space dust. Scientists do not exclude that the rapid formation of planets, such as this, may be just one of the factors that determine the appearance of life on them.

“If the theory of early planetary accretion (the process of increasing the mass of a celestial body through the attraction of matter is really true, then water is most likely just a by-product of the formation of a planet similar to the Earth – this is more likely to find signs of life elsewhere in the universe,” cosmochemist Martin Bizzaro says.

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