PACE Satellite

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PACE Satellite Blog Image


NASA is now publicly distributing science-quality data from its newest Earth-observing PACE satellite.

About PACE Satellite 

  • The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite is placed in Sun-synchronous orbit.
  • The primary science instrument for PACE is the Ocean Colour Instrument (OCI) which is designed to measure the ocean’s colour across a spectrum from ultraviolet to shortwave infrared.
  • It features two polarimeters – the Spectro-polarimeter for Planetary Exploration (SPEXone) and the Hyper Angular Research Polarimeter (HARP2).
  • These two working together will offer complementary spectral and angular sampling, polarimetric accuracy, and spatial coverage.
  • This combination aims to provide improved atmospheric correction and a comprehensive range of aerosol and cloud science data beyond what the OCI alone could achieve.
  • The synergistic payload of OCI, SPEXone and HARP2 is poised to make significant breakthroughs in aerosol-cloud-ocean research.
  • The OCI observes the ocean, land, and atmosphere across a spectrum of ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared light. With this extensive spectral range, scientists can identify specific communities of phytoplankton.
  • Significance: The data will allow researchers to study microscopic life in the ocean and particles in the air, advancing the understanding of issues including fisheries health, harmful algal blooms, air pollution, and wildfire smoke.
  • With PACE, scientists also can investigate how the ocean and atmosphere interact with each other and are affected by a changing climate.

Q1: What is a plankton?

 An organism is considered plankton if it is carried by tides and currents and cannot swim well enough to move against these forces. The most basic categories divide plankton into two groups: phytoplankton (plants) and zooplankton (animals).

Source: NASA’s PACE Data on Ocean, Atmosphere, Climate Now Available