One step away from accurately monitoring pollution from space

A collaboration between NASA South Korea and the European Space Agency works to create a satellite tool to monitor pollution.

With climate change as one of the main current concerns, the need to monitor pollution becomes imperative. And one of the formulas to do this could come from space. It would be a way to cover a huge number of areas that now only depend on sensors installed on land or in the oceans.

The plan features NASA, the South Korean space agency and the European Space Agency. In principle, the three entities will collaborate to carry out the same objective. It is about monitoring pollution more precisely and more globally.

The first launch was for South Korea. His GEMS (Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer) flew into space on February 18. Soon after, it was docked on a Korean satellite, which monitors the ocean surface.

The next step will be taken by NASA. The US agency is expected to launch its mission, identical in structure and purpose in 2022. It will also be a measuring instrument that will be coupled to a communications satellite. And then it will be the turn of the European Space Agency. It will be in 2023 when this entity will launch two tools into the space, which will join the ones it already has to monitor pollution.

Monitorizar la polución

The result will be a joint tool that can determine the levels of nitrogen dioxide, aerosols, and other compounds. Contamination can be measured hour by hour. But it will also be possible to know if the pollution that attacks a certain area has been generated there or elsewhere.

Formulas to monitor contamination

Air pollution is not the only one that you want to control. There are a variety of projects geared toward monitoring other factors. The dirtiness of the waters is another parameter that scientists want to have under control. Not only for visible garbage but for less visible compounds, such as microplastics.

Nor should light pollution be overlooked. This is one of the forms of contamination to which less attention is paid. But the truth is that it also produces harmful effects in nature. Hence, there are initiatives to monitor it.

Images: Nasa

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