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Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer

The Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer is an infrared sensor designed to measure the state and composition of Earth's troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere that extends from Earth's surface to about 16 kilometers (10 miles) in altitude. While the instrument can detect and measure many components of the troposphere, one of its main purposes is to study ozone. While low levels of ozone are a natural component of the troposphere, higher levels, usually associated with polluted environments, are dangerous to both plants and animals, including humans. This instrument is providing important data on where the ozone in the troposphere comes from and how it interacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere.

Over a period of five years, the spectrometer is gathering data describing the global distribution of gases in Earth's lower atmosphere. These data are used to create a three-dimensional model depicting the chemistry of the troposphere, interactions between the troposphere and the biosphere, and exchanges between the troposphere and stratosphere.

The instrument is aboard NASA's Aura spacecraft under the agency's Earth Observing System program. Aura's mission is to measure trace gasses in the atmosphere. The data gathered allows scientists to better address global climate change issues such as global warming, the global movement, distribution and chemistry of polluted air, and ozone depletion in the stratosphere.

The Aura satellite was built for NASA by Northrop Grumman Space Technology in Redondo Beach, California. The Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer is one of four instruments that are flying on Aura.

The Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer was designed and built by JPL. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the Aura mission.

Mission Details:
Purpose: Instrument studying Earth's atmosphere

Fast Facts:
Launch: July 15, 2004

Related Links:
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