Space News and Facts Newsletter #52
May 8 - May 14, 2022
NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT)
Dust in the air from minerals affects planet Earth. Some dust plumes can be huge, and winds can disperse that dust over thousands of kilometres. The thing is, though, scientists don't know whether that dust cools or heats the planet. Some may be absorbing heat; others could reflect light into space, thus causing a cooling effect. It may depend on the mineral composition itself.
Knowing whether or not certain dust sources cool or heat the planet can be useful in understanding climate change, transportation hazards, how clouds form, how oceans are fertilized, effects on human health, etcetera.
To that end, NASA will soon be attaching a new telescope to the ISS. It will collect light into an imaging spectrometer that "measures light in many different wavelengths." It is called the "Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation" (EMIT). The planned launch/ attach date is June 7, 2022.
Human eyes can detect red, green, and blue light, but EMIT can detect hundreds of wavelengths. Those wavelengths are, basically, signatures of the detected minerals.
This is an embedded video from NASA's JPL explaining the mission:
NASA has a broad overview webpage here ...
A NASA Earth Venture Instrument headed for the International Space Station
Next, is the actual JPL home page for the EMIT mission ...
EMIT Mineral Dust Source Measurements Close a Gap in Our Knowledge