Hurricanes are some of the most powerful and destructive weather events on Earth. To help study these powerful storms, NASA is launching TROPICS (Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats), a collection of six small satellites designed to measure storm strength by detecting the thermal radiation naturally emitted by the oxygen and water vapor in the air.
In June 2021, NASA launched a test version of the satellite, called a pathfinder, ahead of the constellation of six weather satellites planned for launch in 2022. When launched, the TROPICS satellites will work together to provide near-hourly microwave observations of a storm’s precipitation, temperature, and humidity. The mission is expected to help scientists understand the factors driving tropical cyclone intensification and to improve forecasting models.
Video credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio/Katie Jepson (KBRwyle): Producer/Ellen T. Gray (ADNET): Writer/William Blackwell (MIT): Scientist/Jonathan North (KBRwyle): Animator/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez (USRA): Animator/Katie Jepson (KBRwyle): Animator/Taylor Johnson: Narration