Launches: Harmony is ESA’s 10th Earth Explorer mission

The European Space Agency has launched 9 missions so far in the FutureEO program. This week, the agency designated Harmony as the 10th mission in the Earth Explorer program. Read more in Launches. Picture via ESA.

Launches: ESA names the 10th Earth Explorer mission

On September 22, 2022, the European Space Agency announcement Harmony as his 10th Earth Explorer mission. Harmony is part of FutureEO program. This program is a series of missions using the latest sensing technologies to make precise measurements of the planet’s ever-changing topography.

According at ESA, the mission will provide the data needed to respond to the biggest crises facing humanity today. The announcement said:

The backbone of ESA’s FutureEO programme, Earth Explorers are pioneering research missions that show how new observation techniques lead to new scientific discoveries about our planet. Advancing science and technology, they address issues that have a direct bearing on climate change and societal issues such as the availability of food, water, energy, resources and health. public.

Harmony will actually be a constellation of satellites. ESA said:

This exciting new mission will feature two identical satellites orbiting the Earth in convoy with a Copernic Sentinel-1 Satellite. Each Harmony satellite will carry a reception-only synthetic aperture radar and a multi-view thermal infrared instrument.

Harmony’s goals

The purpose of the mission is to monitor movements on the Earth’s surface to record in high resolution its ongoing subtle changes. Harmony’s lead investigator Paco Lopez Dekker Explain:

Harmony will, for example, be used to quantify the processes that govern the exchange of momentum, heat and moisture between the ocean surface and the air above. These exchanges influence processes in the lower atmosphere, determine weather patterns and affect our climate. It will also be used to study the deformation and flow dynamics at the edges of the rapidly changing ice sheet for a better understanding of sea level rise.

Harmony will also track critical freshwater supplies around the world. Lopez-Dekker said:

Additionally, Harmony will observe the movement of mountain glaciers, which are essential in providing fresh water to hundreds of millions of people, so the importance of understanding how they change cannot be overstated. And, Harmony will be used to measure small changes in the shape of the earth’s surface such as those related to earthquakes and volcanic activity, and therefore help in monitoring risks.

Bottom line: The latest ESA FutureEO mission, Harmony, is the 10th mission in the Earth Explorer program. It will monitor minor but critical changes in the shape of the Earth.


Read more: Less ice for mountain glaciers. What does it mean?

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