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NASA uses… moonlight to dominate the sky-Information Technology

Thursday, April 7, 2022 08:08 AM (GMT+7)

(LDO) – The idea that seems tinged with legend will help NASA own the most accurate satellite array, because to science, moonlight is something that “does not lie”.

NASA has just announced the first results from the Lunar Spectrograph in the Air – air-LUSI – after its flight from March 12 to 16 on NASA’s ER-2 aircraft, to measure the determine the amount of light reflected from the moon.

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Air-LUSI before boarding the plane – Photo: NASA

The reflected moonlight is a steady source of light that researchers are using to improve the accuracy and consistency of measurements between Earth-observing satellites, SciTech Daily quoted NASA as saying.

“The moon is extremely stable, unaffected by Earth factors like climate, to any degree,” said Professor Kevin Turpie from the University of Maryland (USA), the mission’s principal investigator. air-LUSI, explained.

NASA currently has more than 20 Earth-observing satellites, providing scientists with a global view of Earth’s systems and the links between them. These satellites measure the wavelengths of light reflected, scattered, or emitted by Earth’s surface, water, and atmosphere.

Like orchestral instruments, these satellites need to be in sync to give the most accurate measurements. Moonlight will act as a tuning fork to align, helping the satellite system to work perfectly.

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This electromagnetic spectrum shows how energy travels. Humans can only see visible light, but the entire spectrum will be used by NASA’s Earth-observing instruments – Photo: NASA

Air-LUSI is essentially a state-of-the-art spectroscopic telescope, first tested by NASA in November 2019. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, further testing steps were continuously interrupted. It will not be possible to start official flights until March 2022.

Air-LUSI will continue to fly many times in the near future. The new missions NASA is aiming for are satellites to study plankton, aerosols, clouds, ocean ecosystems…, missions that will need the moonlight to guide them.

According to Professor Turpie, thanks to the moonlight, they will also significantly enhance the capacity of many observatories in space and on the ground.

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