At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, the PACE climate satellite was awaiting its first measuring instrument when on June 8, a team of Dutch and American engineers entered a clean house. SPEXone, along with HARP2 and OCI tools, will give the spacecraft a quick Earth view to measure the color of its oceans and map aerosol features. The Dutch SPEXone tool — developed by SRON and Airbus Netherlands with assistance from TNO — is responsible for measuring aerosol and HARP2 and is now the first satellite integration tool.

Aerosols are tiny particles of dust in the air, such as dust, ash, and desert dust. They greatly influence air pollution and climate change, but their exact role is unknown. That is why global temperatures up to 2100 vary from about minus 3 degrees Celsius. Many aerosols reflect light and have a cooling effect on Earth but can have a warming effect due to absorption. SPEXone will map out aerosol features, such as size, shape, composition, and absorption/display capacity. It also helps the OCI tool measure sea color, thus checking plankton value. This is because repairs are required due to aerosol dispersion.

In February 2021, SPEXone was completed in the Netherlands before the Dutch science minister relocated to Goddard. Since then, the Dutch team has conducted several tests to ensure that the tool has reached the same destination and survived in the final months. “But this is an exhilarating time,” said SRON engineer Alexander Eigenraam just before his trip to the U.S. “Alignment needs to be seen. We need to be especially careful that it does not twist slightly. We place SPEXone in a straight line. That makes it even more complex on the satellite side, and no external computers can connect to it. “

The Dutch SPEXone tool is a candidate that will also be part of the European CO2M satellite, which will monitor the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. Aerosols affect CO2 levels, so an aerosol tool is needed for repair.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.

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