NASA’s New Mineral Dust Detector Readies for Launch


Designed to analyze airborne dust to see how it might affect climate, the EMIT mission launches to the International Space Station on Thursday, July 14.

Each year, strong winds carry more than a billion metric tons – or the weight of 10,000 aircraft carriers – of mineral dust from Earth’s deserts and other dry regions through the atmosphere. While scientists know that the dust affects the environment and climate, they don’t have enough data to determine, in detail, what those effects are or may be in the future – at least not yet.

Set to launch to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on Thursday, July 14, at 8:44 p.m. EDT (5:44 p.m. PDT), NASA’s Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) instrument will help fill in those knowledge gaps. EMIT’s state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer, developed by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, will collect more than a billion dust-source-composition measurements around the globe over the course of a year – and in doing so, significantly advance scientists’ understanding of dust’s influence across the Earth system.

Live coverage from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Prelaunch events on Wednesday, July 13, include a 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT) climate conversation on NASA TV with Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and climate advisor, and Robert Green, EMIT’s principal investigator at JPL.

Continue reading at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Image via NASA