October 27, 2021

City of Science: Insights into the many uses of high-powered satellites above us.

What would you think if someone called you the word “satellite”? Would you think of satellite television, or would you think of the navigation system on your car or your smartphone?

What will happen to this smart watch that tracks your every run or cycle? Would you put a picture of something in orbit, like the International Space Station, or the moon orbiting a planet?

A satellite can be many things, basically it is anything that revolves around another object in space. They can be natural, like the moon, or artificial, like the International Space Station.

Satellites have been used for decades for communication, to explore the planets in our solar system, and most importantly to turn our cameras toward Earth to keep an orbital view of humanity.

As the effects of the climate crisis and extreme weather are felt around the world, remote sensing satellites launched by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), and others have been assessed. It is important to understand how the changing climate will affect us in the long and short term, and to give us important information that can help us slow down or stop this change.

The first satellite in orbit, launched 64 years ago this October, was the first satellite to investigate the Earth’s atmosphere from space.

Soviet Sputnik-1 sent back information about the upper atmosphere during its three-week mission, including density, temperature and ion spare pressure.

From there, scientists and engineers developed technology that can now monitor important information such as changes in the amount of vegetation growing in rainforests, how much sea ice changes over a year, and even the color of the oceans. Also

The last one is surprisingly important, it allows us to observe the growth of phytoplankton, small aquatic photosynthesizing plants, which are an incredibly important part of the ocean. the meal Chain

They also breathe at least 50% oxygen, and their growth can be affected by warming the oceans. Given their important contribution to the atmosphere, understanding them better is essential for many lives on Earth, including us.

Other changes in the oceans, especially melting sea ice, have long been observed from space. As polar ice caps melt, they are not only affected by climate change, they are also driving it.

As they release fresh water into the oceans, they can disrupt the Gulf Stream.

This huge, global flow of water is responsible for keeping the weather in Glasgow so smooth that it is at the same longitude as other cities, such as Moscow.

Without it, the average temperature in the UK could get very cold, affecting life as we get used to it. These long-term observations are key to us. planning For the future.

Satellites can also help us predict sudden, extreme weather events such as hurricanes, monsoons, and cold cuts.

The beast from the east or the following heat wave in 2018 may have surprised many of us, but on a website like NASA World You see, you can go ahead and look at the weather fronts, all from images taken from NASA’s Terra Satellite.

Satellites can also play a major role in post-extreme weather recovery. After Hurricanes Arma and Maria in 2017, thousands of volunteers collected satellite data from the Caribbean islands on the Zonor Citizen Science website, some of them in just a few hours.

Damage to roads, buildings and other infrastructure was photographed from space, and rescue teams could be dispatched exactly where they were needed.

On planets we are often asked why so much money is spent on space missions, such as NASA’s plans to return to the moon, or the new rover that ESA is sending to Mars, when there are so many challenges on Earth. Are facing

We generally respond that the significant amount of funding received by space agencies goes to the ground observation described in this article.

These missions directly benefit us and help us make decisions that will protect us, and this pale blue marble we call home.

David Elder Lectures, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, will return to 1900 on October 7 on YouTube and Facebook Live.

Join NASA’s Dr. Benjamin Hamlington as they discuss how satellites are used to change sea levels.

For more information and bookings, visit https://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/discover/adult-events/david-elder-lectures.

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