Potsdam (dpa/bb) – In the future, the German Earth observation satellite is scheduled to provide information on the effects of the climate crisis, among other things. The scientific management of the research project in Potsdam is located at the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ). The EnMAP satellite carrier rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday evening. Scientists and guests at the research center have followed up with the start of the mission, the Brandenburg Research Department announced on Saturday. Among them was Mike Schubert, the mayor of Potsdam.
Over the next few years, the mission will gather information about the state of vegetation, soil, and water on Earth with greater accuracy than ever before. According to the information, special cameras on board provide images of the Earth’s surface in more than 200 narrow and adjacent wavelengths – the so-called hyperspectral images. This data can be used, among other things, to detect minerals or contaminants and to determine the degree of pollution in the water.
The environmental mission is managed by the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK). The costs are about 300 million euros.
GFZ’s interim scientific director, Nils Hovius, spoke of a milestone in the region’s history. He noted the expedition’s wide range of possible uses, such as sediment exploration, land mapping, water quality monitoring, and recording of environmental pollution.
Research Minister Mangga Chol (SPD) praised GFZ’s work. Once again, he provided “indispensable forward-looking drivers for international geography, environmental and climatological research”.
“EnMAP” means “Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program” (roughly: Environmental Mapping and Analysis Programme). The satellite’s core is the hyperspectral instrument built by satellite manufacturer OHB System AG. It enables recording of solar radiation reflected from the Earth’s surface in continuous spectra from visible light to the short-wave infrared range.
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