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Interesting ways space exploration is helping to slow the climate change curve

by Grace

While once climate change was the subject of debate, in recent years, it’s become abundantly clear that humans are having a detrimental effect on our environment. Recent freak weather events coupled with the warming of our planet globally have now put tackling the impending climate catastrophe at the top of the list for most developed nations. Most scientists now concur that if we don’t act soon, we will end up irreversibly altering the Earth and reach the so-called tipping point of no return. 

Hopeful news

While the outlook doesn’t look great for our planet, there may be glimpses of salvation coming from seemingly the most unlikely of sources – namely, space exploration. To find out more about planned missions, search online for ongoing space projects and next generation space news.

Below are details of some of the more interesting developments and initiatives relating to our changing world that have come directly from humans spending time in space. 

Monitoring the Earth from above

The first and most obvious way our time in space has helped scientists reveal the effect we’re having on the planet is by giving us an overhead view of the damage humans have inflicted. There are currently around 4,500 satellites orbiting Earth and of these, around 150 are tasked solely with observing the planet. This helps scientists get a better view of our home – one that simply wouldn’t be possible on the ground. 

In addition to highlighting a heating world plus the combined effects of deforestation, these satellites have also afforded us a better understanding of the hole in the ozone above Antarctica.

Space tech that is now being used on Earth

There are countless examples of tech that was initially developed for space travel that is now being used on Earth. For example, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) rely on a water purification system that cleans urine and water used for washing so they have a constant source of liquid. This same tech was later introduced in Saudi Arabia for the same reasons. 

Also, the lidar tech first developed by the European Space Agency to identify wind profiles has been adapted by a French company and is now being used by wind farms in more than 100 countries. 

Other examples of space tech being adapted for use on Earth include heat-detecting gas sensors and satellite data being used to monitor car emissions. 

Apps and monitors to help us understand our personal carbon footprint

A UK developer, Andreas Zachariah, has produced a mobile application to help users better understand the effect they’re personally having on the environment. By seeing the impact our own lifestyle is contributing to a changing planet, it’s hoped users will adopt more climate-friendly habits. 

Zachariah’s application tracks its users’ carbon contributions in real-time, helping encourage subscribers to change the way they live. For example, the app can show users the difference walking makes instead of driving a car. 

Similar satellite tech is also being utilized to help users to drive more economically by monitoring a car’s location combined with anticipated congestion levels and road conditions ahead. 

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