European Wind Survey Satellite Launched
18, Aug 2018
Prelims level : Science & Tech Mains level :
- Europe put a satellite into orbit which will track global winds, allowing for improved weather forecasting,
- The “Aeolus” satellite named after the guardian of wind in Greek mythology will be placed at an altitude of 320 kilometres (200 miles) above the Earth.
- It is part of the Copernicus project, a joint initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA) to track environmental damage and aid disaster relief operations.
- Aeolus is equipped with a single instrument: a Doppler wind lidar an advanced laser system designed to accurately measure global wind patterns from space.
- This mission will thus provide much-needed data to improve the quality of weather forecasting as well as contributing to long-term climate research.
- It described the satellite as the world’s first space mission to acquire profiles of Earth’s wind on a global scale.
- The Doppler lidar transmits short, powerful pulses of laser light toward Earth in the ultraviolet spectrum.
- Particles in the air moisture, dust, gases scatter a small fraction of that light energy back to the transceiver, where it is collected and recorded.
- The delay between the outgoing pulse and the so-called backscattered signal reveals the wind’s direction, speed and distance travelled.
- Once per orbit, data is downloaded to a ground station in Svalbard, Norway.