NASA will launch satellite technology next month that scientists say will provide a clearer understanding of how solar energy and aerosols affect Earth’s climate. Traveling at about 438 miles above the Earth over three years, the Glory satellite will collect data on the Sun’s total energy output and provide new details on the tiny aerosols that reflect and absorb those solar rays passing through the atmosphere.
Combined, the instrumentation will help scientists better understand the Earth’s overall “energy budget,” said Hal Maring, a NASA project scientist. “This really is a climate mission,” he said. “We’ve got to know how much energy is coming in, if it’s changing, and how that energy affects the climate system.” The mission is the first satellite-related component of President Obama’s initiative to better understand climate science.