NASA launches satellite to track “health” of Earth
NASA has successfully launched a satellite into space this week which will monitor the “health” of the planet.
Landsat 9 was launched on September 27 from Vandenberg Space Force base in California.
Streamed video of the launch shows Landsat 9 taking off and heading into space to continue the satellite system’s 50-year legacy of watching Earth from above.
Landsat 9 will join its sister satellite, Landsat 8, and the pair will work in tandem to “collect images covering the entire planet every eight days,” according to Nasa.
Render Landsat 9 above Earth.
Satellites were designed to track changes on Earth to educate researchers on key areas such as climate change.
“NASA is using the unique strengths of our own unprecedented fleet, along with instruments from other nations, to study our own planet and its climate systems,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “With a 50-year-old database to draw on, Landsat 9 will take this historic and invaluable global program to the next level.”
The very first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972 and since then NASA has continued to launch new models to keep tracking the evolution of the planet’s surface.
“These images allow researchers to monitor phenomena such as agricultural productivity, the extent and health of forests, water quality, health of coral reef habitat and glacier dynamics,” said The NASA.
“The Landsat mission is unlike any other,” said Karen St. Germain, director of the Earth Sciences division at NASA headquarters in Washington. “For nearly 50 years, Landsat satellites have observed our home planet, providing an unprecedented record of how its surface has changed over time from days to decades. Through this partnership with the USGS, we have been able to provide continuous and timely data to users ranging from farmers to resource managers and scientists that can help us understand, predict and plan for the future in a changing climate.
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Meanwhile, a recent article published in more than 200 accredited medical journals warned that climate change is the “greatest threat to global public health.”
Ahead of the Biodiversity Summit and Climate Conference (COP26) later this year, health experts are warning countries the world cannot wait until the COVID-19 pandemic ends to take action against the climate change, citing rising temperatures and extreme weather conditions, among others.
“Indeed, no temperature rise is ‘safe’,” according to the article.
The article appeared in medical journals such as “The Lancet”, “The New England Journal of Medicine” and the “British Medical Journal,” and called on nations to take action “to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, stop the destruction of nature and protect health,” the authors wrote.
Earth’s climate is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade are likely to exceed a level of warming that world leaders have sought to prevent, according to a report released in early August that the United Nations called a “code red for humanity. “.
“It’s just guaranteed to get worse,” said Linda Mearns, co-author of the report, senior climatologist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research. “I don’t see any safe area … nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.”
As the planet warms, places will be more affected not only by extreme weather conditions, but also by multiple climate disasters happening simultaneously, according to the report. It’s like what’s happening in the western United States right now, where heat waves, drought and wildfires are adding to the damage, Mearns said.
Some damage from climate change – shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels, and changes in the oceans as they lose oxygen and become more acidic – are “irreversible for centuries or even millennia, ”according to the report.
The world is “locked in” to 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) of sea level rise by the middle of the century, said report co-author Bob Kopp of Rutgers University.
Almost all of the warming that has occurred on Earth can be attributed to emissions of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. At most, natural forces like the sun or mere chance can explain one or two tenths of a degree of warming, depending on the report.
The Associated Press and Storyful contributed to this report.