PREFIRE MISSION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     27th May 2024        
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Context: NASA successfully launched the first of a pair of small climate satellites PREFIRE from the Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand.

PREFIRE Mission 

  • About: PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) is a mission aimed at studying heat emissions at the Earth's poles to understand their role in global climate change.

o It will fill the gaps in knowledge of two of the most remote regions on Earth — the Arctic and Antarctic — and how it is shedding heat upward into space.

o The PREFIRE CubeSats are expected to significantly enhance our understanding of Earth's energy budget and its implications for climate change.

  • Objectives: To reveal the full spectrum of heat loss from Earth’s polar regions for the first time, making climate models more accurate.
  • CubeSat Configuration: It comprises two shoebox-sized CubeSats, each equipped with a sophisticated thermal infrared spectrometer.
  • Measurement Capabilities: These CubeSats are capable of measuring far-infrared radiation emitted by the Earth's coldest and most remote regions.
  • Goals: Scientists aim to collect crucial data to better predict the impact of climate change on sea ice loss, ice sheet melt, and sea-level rise.
  • NASA's Perspective: According to NASA, PREFIRE will provide a detailed understanding of how Earth's polar regions influence the planet's energy absorption and release.
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