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New NASA Satellite To Watch Over Earth

By | June 9, 2004

      NASA plans to launch the Aura Satellite from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base June 26. The spacecraft will enter the Earth’s orbit with a mission to join a host of other satellites in monitoring the planet’s climate and ozone layers. The state-of-the-art instruments aboard Aura include the British-made High Resolution Dynamics Limb Sounder that will conduct various scans to provide information regarding the causes and consequences of climate change — a problem that many scientists brand as “extremely serious.”

      In particular, the satellite will look at the relationship between ozone in the lower and upper atmosphere, the effect of manmade chemicals on these levels of ozone, and levels of such other compounds as greenhouse gases. “This will allow us to probe the Earth’s planetary system and how it operates as a whole,” NASA Earth Sciences official Ghassem Asrar told reporters at a news conference in London. The first verified data from Aura should be available to scientists within nine months, followed by a constant stream of incoming data for as long as 10 years.

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