The European space station has launched a wind tracker satellite on Wednesday. Embedded with laser technology, the satellite will measure the winds sweeping across the planet. Weather experts can now forecast changes in the weather more accurately.
Dubbed as Aeolus mission, the satellite will collect data from winds in oceans that have not been possible through weather balloons, ground stations, and airplanes. The data collecting process will play a pivotal role in predicting changes in the weather conditions.
The spacecraft blasted along with a Vega rocket from the Kourou space station in Europe at 21:20 GMT on Wednesday. Aeolus is packed with an atmospheric laser Doppler instrument, laser, telescope and a sensitive receiver to explore the atmosphere. The laser will shoot a series of short light pulses in the ultraviolet range and then gather light that is backscattered from particles of gas and dust and droplets of water in the atmosphere. After that, the Doppler instrument will track the wind speed.
According to the European space station, there are limitations in the current forecasting system, the new satellite will able to understand the processes that lead to extreme weather phenomena. With better weather forecasting technology, a scientist will be able to warn the people about the extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, heat waves, tornadoes, etc which causes damages to human lives every year. The satellite can also predict changing weather patterns like El Nino, which can damage crops and lead to fire and flash floods.
Scientists will be hoping for a successful space mission and the first set of data is expected to be delivered to a ground station in Norway by January next year and keep operating for around three to four years.