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German Satellite Will Become Incredibly Helpful for Tracking How Our Environment is Changing

Space technology has been used to gather information about Earth’s climate for some time now. Information such as weather forecasts, wildfires, and even understanding the climate crisis to a certain degree. However, a new German satellite is said to be a “game-changer” for understanding our changing environment. Its use of over 250 colors will produce the most precise data in satellite history, allowing scientists to gather information on water, soil, vegetation, and more. 

The satellite called the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program, or EnMAP, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on April 1st. By April 9th it had officially reached its destination within Earth’s orbit, and currently, scientists are awaiting what they expect to be a plethora of information. EnMAP will be able to provide incredibly accurate data such as the levels of pollution flowing within a river or the specific nutrients in a plant, all from space. Everything on earth reflects light, and this reflection is assigned a different color relative to what material it is. EnMAP will use these colors, called spectral signatures when assigned a certain material, and send the data back to space in order to better understand the severity of the climate crisis. 

For a while now, scientists have already had relatively accurate data on the speed of earth’s warming, the effects it is having presently, as well as what is to come in the future. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently reported that the Earth is warming much faster than had previously been anticipated. This new satellite will take scientists’ understanding much further, “Without Earth observation from space, it would be very difficult to quantify the global extent of the climate crisis and its consequences” said the Federal Government Commissioner for Aerospace. 

The goal of EnMAP, therefore, is to determine the severity of global warming over the next decade, in order to forecast what is to come. Although scientists have developed many solutions that have yet to be applied to the issue, the forecasts will allow them to better inform governments and the public about the crisis. It will also help create better and more helpful solutions for combating climate change for when governments around the world hopefully decide something serious has to be done.

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