NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX will analyze desert dust and its influence on climate change


How does desert dust influence climate change? NASA and SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company, will analyze the seriousness of the situation with the EMIT instrument, recently sent to the International Space Station.

Last Thursday, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a Dragon resupply spacecraft carried more than 2,600 kilograms of experiments and supplies, including the EMIT (Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) instrument.

The spacecraft will remain attached to the ISS for a month, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

EMIT will collect measurements of 10 important surface minerals (hematite, goethite, illite, vermiculite, calcite, dolomite, montmorillonite, kaolinite, chlorite and gypsum)in arid areas in Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.

The goal: to better understand the role of airborne dust particles in warming and cooling the Earth’s atmosphere, on a global and regional scale.

In the midst of environmental disasters like the fires that are occurring in Spain, this research is necessary.

This is how NASA’s EMIT works, sent to the ISS by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company

This device, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, uses the agency’s imaging spectroscopy technology to measure the mineral composition of dust in arid regions of the Earth.

According to the Jet Lab, mineral dust released into the air can travel significant distances, affecting our planet’s climate, vegetation and more.

The institution exemplifies it in this way: dust containing dark minerals that absorb sunlight can warm an area, while light-colored mineral dust can cool it.

For its part, the blowing dust also affects air quality, surface conditions such as the rate of snow melt, and the health of phytoplankton in the ocean.

The EMIT will collect images for a year to generate maps of the mineral composition of the regions of the planet that produce dust, such as North Africa, where the Sahara Desert is located.

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