International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

European satellite Sentinel-5P sends images of global air pollution


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Sentinel-5P, Tropomi

Mains level: Satellites and space missions


Satellite tracking the levels air pollutants around the world

  1. A European satellite tracking the levels air pollutants around the world has beamed back new views of the Earth’s atmosphere, including images of pollution drifting away from power plants in India
  2. The Sentinel-5P satellite is designed to make daily global maps of the gases and particles that pollute the air

First images released

  1. The first sample images released by mission scientists show plumes of nitrogen dioxide flowing away from power plants and traffic-choked cities
  2. S5P has even captured the ash and sulphur emissions from Agung volcano on the Indonesian island of Bali, which is in the midst of a big eruption

About Sentinel 5P

  1. Sentinel-5P is the latest spacecraft in a fleet of Earth observers being commissioned by the European Union and the European Space Agency
  2. t carries an instrument called Tropomi – a spectrometer that observes the reflected sunlight coming up off the Earth, analysing its many different colours
  3. This helps detect the presence of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere
  4. When fully operational, the new Sentinel will be an extremely powerful tool to monitor air quality
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