The United States government would launch a climate science satellites that would track water movement around the Earth. The satellite is set to launch this month. The satellite officially called the Gravity Recovery, and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites would launch on May 19.
The satellites would monitor issues related to climate including polar ice caps, and deep ocean currents. The GRACE missions account for some critical earth findings published. It is through the GRACE missions that scientists discovered that the melting of the polar caps is responsible for at least one-third of the global rise in sea level.
The director for Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, Michael Watkins, said that the information gathered through the GRACE missions helps us to understand the Earth better and we are also able to understand the changes of planet Earth.
NASA also revealed that the satellites could track glacier retreats and the influence of earthquakes on the earth crust. GRACE-FO is a twin satellite that would not travel together. These satellites would go 137 miles apart.
This mission is an extension of the GRACE mission that ended last year. The GRACE mission lasted for 15 years. The new mission will last for five years.
The Donald Trump administration has proposed that they would cut the budget for NASA’s climate missions, however, that did not happen.
The GRACE-FO mission is the first climate mission that NASA will embark on since Jim Bridenstine assumed the position as the NASA administrator.
The Trump administration also launched a climate satellite last year. The satellite called Joint Polar Satellite System-1 also collects data on the changing earth, changes in the Arctic sea ice, and the ozone hole over Antarctica.
GRACE-FO will check the trends at which water on the earth surface changes. The satellites carry sensitive equipment that is capable of tracking small movements, even movements that are as small and slight as a strand of human hair.
The satellites were tested aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9. GRACE-FO arrived at the Vandenberg Air Force base on December 12 last year.
The satellites will launch from the launch site in California this month. Scientists hope that this new twin mission will record successes and help provide a better understanding of the earth. The satellite will carry an atmospheric limb that will measure the amount of signal from a GPS satellite that is distracted by the atmosphere.