ESA Picks SSTL To Develop Atmospheric CO2 Detector

by Staff Writers
ESA has awarded Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. an 18-month contract, worth 400,000 euros ($500,000) to develop a new detector to detect levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. SSTL will be prime contractor, with Sheffield and Heriot Watt Universities the United Kingdom, and Lidar Technologies Ltd. as subcontractors.
The most effective wavelength to detect CO2 is 2 microns, due to its deep absorption signature at this wavelength, the company said in a statement. Monitoring and detecting greenhouses gases is of critical importance to the future of the planet.
There are some conflicting reports that attempt to quantify the rate of climatic change, one fact that the scientific community do seem to agree on is that greenhouse gases are adversely influencing the environment and will continue to do so in the future.
The impact of climate change on the global environment is currently attracting significant global coverage. The key question requiring an answer is how human activity affects the surrounding environment is a subject generating significant debate from both “pro” and “anti” lobbies.
number of inter-governmental treaties have been signed (including Kyoto) which attempt to limit the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, O3) produced around the globe. Careful monitoring of greenhouse gases is essential if we are to understand fully the impact of these elevated levels on our environment. The key gases are CO2 (carbon dioxide) and CH4 (methane), which have the biggest impact on the Earth’s atmosphere.
Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased dramatically in the last 50 years to levels currently (2005) exceeding 370 parts per million. This alarming trend is thought to be a significant factor in global warming.
SSTL is an enterprise company formed in 1985 by the University of Surrey to commercialize the results of its innovative small satellite engineering research. SSTL was the first professional organization to offer low-cost small satellites with rapid response employing advanced terrestrial technologies.
(Credits Terradaily & SSTL

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