NASA's TEMPO Mission
- 11 Apr 2023
- 3 min read
Why in the News?
Recently, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Tropospheric Emissions Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) instrument from Florida.
What is TEMPO?
- TEMPO is a NASA device that can track air pollution over North America from space. It will allow scientists to monitor air pollutants and their emission sources down to the neighbourhood level.
- The TEMPO instrument is a grating spectrometer, sensitive to visible and ultraviolet wavelengths of light.
- TEMPO is hosted on an Intelsat communications satellite in geostationary orbit.
- It will be able to measure atmospheric pollution down to a spatial resolution of 4 square miles or neighbourhood level.
- Applications and Importance:
- TEMPO will have multiple applications from measuring levels of various pollutants to providing air quality forecasts and helping the development of emission-control strategies
- More than 40% of the US population live in places with unhealthy levels of particle pollution or ozone, and air pollution is blamed for some 60,000 premature deaths a year.
What is a Geostationary Orbit?
- Geostationary orbit is an orbit around the Earth where a satellite's orbital period matches the Earth's rotation, allowing the satellite to stay in a fixed position over the same point on the Earth's surface.
- The height of a geostationary orbit is approximately 35,786 kilometers (22,236 miles) above the Earth's equator.
- Satellites in geostationary orbit are typically used for communication and weather observation purposes, as they can provide constant coverage of a specific region without the need for frequent repositioning.