The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been upgrading their satellites to provide more research that can benefit the world. Nasa has been using their satellites to track climate changes and the energy consumption, increase the reliability of predicting the weather, and has been creating a new energy-sufficient airplane prototype for future flights.

A study on November 9th noticed a 75% decrease in the emissions of sulfur dioxide produced from China, and an increase of sulfur dioxide emissions for India by 50%. “The rapid decrease of sulfur dioxide emissions in China far exceeds expectations and projections,” said Can Li, an associate research scientist in the University of Maryland’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This suggests that China is implementing sulfur dioxide controls beyond what climate modelers have taken into account. China has also increased in coal consumption by 50% and electric generation has increased by 100%.”

Starting in the early 2000s, China began implementing policies such as fining polluters, setting emission reduction goals and lowering emissions limits. According to the results of the current study, “these efforts are paying off”, says Irene Young, a student at the University of Maryland. China still suffers from haze and air pollution, but India’s air pollution does not affect the health of the people by placing their coal plants away from densely populated areas. The NASA researchers of this study collected reports of emissions from factories, and used their Ozone monitoring instrument to detect gases in the atmosphere.

In other news, Nasa has been developing their new turbo-electric prototype airplane STARC-ABL. This airplane is designed to have less emissions and make a quieter airplane that uses less energy. This plane has smaller engines due to the extra engine on the tail of the plane to accelerate air that drags the plane. This tail engine is powered by generators that are placed in the wings, the plane will not need to use much energy to accelerate and will make less noise because there is less air dragging on the plane and the engines are smaller and use less energy to move faster than the average plane. “The wing-mounted engines supply 80 percent of the thrust required during takeoff and 55 percent at cruise, while the tail-mounted, all-electric BLI turbofan accounts for remaining thrust.

Researchers predict a potential fuel consumption improvement of roughly 10 percent using this innovative system” says Jimi Russel, a researcher at the Nasa Glenn research center. “Final reports from the industry study will outline hybrid-electric and conventional single-aisle aircraft concept designs, technology roadmaps for the major electrical systems and aircraft subsystems, and the evaluation of the concepts’ performance against NASA aircraft metrics,” says Jimi. Nasa has made 12-month contracts with several commercial airline companies to design a 150 seat single-aisle plane with amazing electric technologies. A prototype version of this plane will be tested at the Nasa electric aircraft testbed in Sandusky Ohio, and this plane is said to be finished within the next 20 years

Nasa has also partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is planning to launch a new satellite on November 15, but was slightly delayed, called the JPSS-1 that is designed to track and predict droughts, diseases, wildfires, storms, and seismic activity. This satellite will orbit the earth polarly and will pass over the equator 14 times and will orbit the earth twice every day. The JPSS-1 will measure atmospheric conditions and the condition of the ozone layer (the layer that protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation) and atmospheric pressure. The satellite will also measure the amount of vegetation on earth, the amount of water vapor, temperature, ice cover and fire locations.

Nasa has been testing the satellite since last year, and the rocket that has been installed onto the satellite has been properly tested. “After it reaches orbit 512 miles above the Earth, JPSS-1 will be known as NOAA-20. Future satellites planned for the JPSS constellation include JPSS-2, scheduled for launch in 2021, JPSS-3 in 2026 and JPSS-4 in 2031. The series of four JPSS satellites are expected to span 20 years. The JPSS-1 will remain in orbit for ten years”, says Bob Granath, a researcher at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The information received from the satellite will be available to all nations. Nasa is advancing its science programs to prepare the world for the future.

By: Alejandro Leyva