NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center is preparing ahead of the Jan. 6 launch of the Clouds and Aerosol Transport System aboard theÂ SpaceX CRS-5 missionÂ to the International Space Station, Federal News Radio reported Friday.
Michael O’Connell writes that CATS wasÂ designedÂ to monitorÂ cloud and aerosolÂ distribution in the atmosphere using a low-pulse energy laser and will be the first Goddard-developed instrument at ISS.
CATS will help GoddardÂ track atmospheric hazards,Â climate change and air quality, the report said.
“Our goal [is] to take data from CATS, get it into forecast models, in particular aerosol forecast models, because those models need this vertical distribution,” saidÂ Matthew McGill, principal investigator for CATS at Goddard.
“[We]Â need to know where there are pollutants and what height in the atmosphere they’re at. What are they comprised of?”
McGill added that the instrumentÂ also serves as a platform for technology demonstration to support future, biggerÂ missions.
“Not only is it going to show a new capability for observations, but it’s going to show some very important science data that’s going to be important to the Earth-science community and to global climate research,” notedÂ Christyl Johnson, Goddard deputy director for technology and research investments.