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16 June, 2024
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Cyprus Institute's contribution to ESA's Earth Explorer space mission

How Cyprus Institute shines in space research

Newsroom / CNA

Researchers from the Cyprus Institute’s Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C), coordinated by Professor Franco Marenco, are actively involved with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) upcoming EarthCARE satellite mission, focused on cloud, aerosol and radiation exploration.

According to an CI statement, EarthCARE (Earth Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) aims to significantly improve our understanding of how clouds and aerosols (atmospheric particulates such as pollution and Saharan dust) influence the climate, with data collected through the EarthCARE mission providing information on the relationship of clouds, aerosols, and radiation at an unprecedented level of accuracy, helping to improve predictions about the weather and the future climate.

It is added that the launch of the EarthCARE mission, a joint venture between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the most complex to date, is scheduled for launch in 2024 and the CARE-C team will be performing specific activities for the validation and calibration of this novel satellite.

It is further noted that an Unmanned Systems Research Laboratory (USRL) team will conduct highly advanced observations of atmospheric composition, including the number and properties of particles from the ground to an altitude of about 6,000m, using bespoke Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) developed in-house.

It is also stated that a Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO) team will collect information on the amount of dust and pollution suspended in the upper atmospheric layers, data crucial for the calibration and the validation of the satellite, which collects information on the 3-dimensional distribution of atmospheric particles and not just what is collected on the ground.

It is added that scientific activities in preparation for the EarthCARE launch are already underway, as the first dedicated UAV flight by the USRL team of the Cyprus Institute took place on 25 October 2023, with additional activities being scheduled to take place for the duration of the EarthCARE mission, while the mission also includes a scientific team from Cyprus Atmospheric Remote Sensing Observatory (CARO) of the Eratosthenes Center of Excellence.

The Cyprus Institute also notes that EarthCARE calibration and validation activities are organised by national facilities from 42 atmospheric measurements stations across 18 different countries, coordinated through the EU Horizon-2020 project ATMO-ACCESS and integrates observations to scientists’ networks across European, Asia and Africa.

The strong participation of Cyprus scientists, including the partnership of two European Research Centers of Excellence, strengthens Cyprus’ contribution to the success of this space mission and highlights our country’s research and innovation talent in advancing breakthrough science at an international level, the statement concludes.

Cyprus  |  space  |  research  |  satellite

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