NASA announced it is planning to launch the very first Earth-observing satellite on Oct. 27.
The ultimate goal for the satellite entitled The National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) will be to collect critical data on short and long-term weather patterns and increase our knowledge of climate change.
New state-of-the-art sensors will help scientists uncover specific data on the ozone layer, land cover, atmospheric temperatures and ice cover. The satellite is roughly the size of a minivan and will orbit the Earth’s poles about 14 times a day.
“NPP’s observations of a wide range of interconnected Earth properties and processes will give us the big picture of how our planet changes,” said Jim Gleason, NPP project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “That will help us improve our computer models that predict future environmental conditions. Better predictions will let us make better decisions, whether it is as simple as taking an umbrella to work today or as complex as responding to a changing climate.”