NASA‰Ûªs Glory will be in improving climate models

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Artists rendition of the Glory spacecraft

Artists rendition of the Glory spacecraft

The Glory spacecraft will separate from the Taurus XL rocket, deploy its solar arrays, and will eventually reach low-Earth orbit. Credit: NASA

NASA plans to launch the Glory satellite into space on Feb. 23. The project aims to provide new details about the total solar energy entering our Earth‰Ûªs atmosphere, and about aerosols that reflect and absorb the sun’s rays. It‰Ûªs a chance to bring more information down to Earth about what can be done to combat the worst effects of climate change.

According to Nature.com, the environmental monitoring satellite will join the Afternoon Constellation, also known as the A-Train, an existing group of four satellites that are already monitoring climate influences like clouds, water vapor, weather patterns and greenhouse gas concentrations.

Glory‰Ûªs solar monitoring system was built the University of Colorado‰Ûªs Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The satellite‰Ûªs aerosol sensor was constructed by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in California.

As explained by Discovery News, the new monitor and sensor will help scientists to better understand the dynamics of global warming. The new instruments will help researchers sort out changes in the sun‰Ûªs energy from natural and human-caused influences on the climate.

Artist's rendition of the Glory satellite with sun setting in the background.

The Glory mission is designed to make measurements of both the sun and the Earth. Credit: NASA

‰ÛÏThe scientific knowledge gained from Glory will have a significant impact on our understanding of natural and human influences on climate,” Hal Maring, Glory program scientist at NASA Headquarters, said in a statement.

NASA officials say the Earth‰Ûªs climate continues to change ‰ÛÏat a rapid pace.‰Û

Data from NASA‰Ûªs Goddard Institute for Space Studies shows that 2010 was tied as the warmest year on record.

Glory aims to offer a new stream of data that climatologists will use as part of an ongoing effort to improve the accuracy of climate models, officials say.

You can follow the Glory mission on Twitter @NASAGlory.

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