Lurker Posted April 25 Report Share Posted April 25 The Aeolus mission is coming to a close on 30 April 2023 with a series of end life activities after achieving many significant accomplishments. Launched in 2018, the mission’s main goal was to measure the Earth’s wind patterns and improve our understanding of how they affect the planet’s climate. That ESA’s wind mission had outlived its predicted lifetime of three years by over 18 months. The best course of action to wind down Aeolus was to carefully re-enter the satellite back to Earth. The finishing touches to the end-of-life schedule will be made in a span of numerous weeks. Innovating Wind Measurement across Earth Using state-of-the-art laser technology, Aeolus was able to measure the wind speeds and direction from space with incredible precision. These measurements were used to create detailed maps of global wind patterns and improve weather forecasting models. In addition to its primary mission, Aeolus also made important contributions to other areas of Earth observation. For example, it provided valuable data on air pollution and dust transport across the globe. As the Aeolus mission winds down, scientists are already looking ahead to future missions that can build on its successes. This includes plans for new Earth observation missions that will focus on other key environmental factors such as ocean currents, land use, and the carbon cycle. Aeolus Mission Manager, Tommaso Parrinello was grateful to all the ESA and industry colleagues who developed and operated the mission. Improvement in Weather Forecasts Aeolus carried ALADIN, an instrument that is Europe’s most sophisticated Doppler wind lidar flown in space. A laser inbuilt the instrument fires pulses of ultraviolet light towards Earth’s atmosphere, which is received by a light detecting receiver that scatters it back from air and water molecules like aerosols and dust. With that measurement one can check the speed of the wind. Over its extended lifetime, ALADIN has beamed down over seven billion laser pulses orbiting Earth 16 times a day and covering the entire globe once a week. Aeolus data are used by major weather forecasting services worldwide, including the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Météo-France, the UK Met Office, Germany’s Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), and India’s National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF). Since ECMWF started assimilating Aeolus data in 2020 the satellite has become the highest impact-per-observation instruments in existence. It is mainly due to Aeolus’ capacity to measure winds where data is scarce. When planes were grounded during the lockdowns imposed due to the COVID pandemic, Aeolus was able to contribute missing data to plug the gap in weather forecasts. ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programme, Simonetta Cheli said that the Aeolus mission has been a triumph of European innovation, collaboration and technical excellence, and is an example of how ESA’s Earth Explorers perform beyond expectations, and is a shining light for our Future EO Programme. Its impacts will live long beyond its lifetime in space, paving the way for future operational missions such as Aeolus-2. Despite the mission’s impending end, the data collected by Aeolus will continue to be used by scientists around the world for years ahead in the future. This legacy is a testament to the mission’s trailblazing spirit and its important role in advancing our understanding of the Earth’s climate. First Mission to Measure Earth’s Wind Patterns Powers Down (geospatialworld.net) Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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