MSC 2024

EarthCARE is Packed and Ready to Ship Off to Launch Site

ESA
EarthCARE Satellite. Credit: ESA

Ibadan, 2 February 2024. – The European Space Agency’s (ESA) EarthCARE satellite has undergone its final testing and analysis, and its engineers have packed it up for its journey to the launch site in the US. With liftoff slated for May on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been going through the last round of tests and meticulous checks in Germany.

Carrying four different instruments, EarthCARE is the most complex of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions – missions that return key scientific information that advances human understanding of how planet Earth works as a system and the impact that humans are having on natural processes. EarthCARE’s set of four state-of-the-art instruments will work together to provide a holistic view of the complex interplay between clouds, aerosols and radiation. This will hopefully yield new insight into Earth’s radiation balance against the backdrop of the climate crisis.

With the climate crisis increasingly tightening its grip, ESA developed the Earth Cloud Aerosol and Radiation Explorer, or (EarthCARE), to shed new light on the complex interactions between clouds, aerosols and radiation within the Earth’s atmosphere. Energy in the atmosphere is a balance between incoming radiation from the Sun, which heats the Earth system, and outgoing thermal radiation, which cools Earth. While experts agree that clouds play an extremely important role in atmospheric heating and cooling, clouds remain one of the biggest uncertainties in human understanding of how the atmosphere drives the climate system.

Airbus EarthCARE Project Leader, Maximilian Sauer, said, “EarthCARE took 15 years to develop with experts involved from over 15 countries in Europe as well as Canada, USA and Japan. And thanks to this hard work, we have a satellite that is set to enhance climate models.”

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