Work has almost completed on the new NPL Earth Observation satellite exhibit at the International Spaceflight Museum. Next comes a more technical version on NASA’s CoLab island.
TRUTHS is a proposed low cost Earth Observation satellite that can help gather fundamental climate change data 10 times as accurately as any other instrument. It actually measures the light input to the Earth from the Sun and that reflected back from the ground at every wavelength that matters. It can also be used to calibrate other Earth Observation satellite, as it carries onboard a primary standard and can compare its measurement of specific targets with that of the other satellites.
This mission may be even more important in view of the planned cuts in cutting some of future Earth Observation missions. Observations of Solar Radiance of this kind help to underpin our climate models that predict details of long term climate change – the extra accuracy of TRUTHS is needed to improve our predictions. TRUTHS will be even more vital should there be a gap between other Earth Observation missions as right now we have no way of calibrating these instruments in orbit and instead scientists rely on the overlapping data from different missions. An article on The proposed cuts and their potential effects on Earth Observation appears in the March issue of Popular Mechanics. I was alerted to this just as I was about to blog about NPL’s proposed TRUTHS mission and our new Second Life exhibit by the ever useful Slashdot.