Colorful World Why PACE is Going Hyperspectral

NASA's Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission is being developed. Its most important feature is the state-of-the-art Ocean Color Instrument (OCI).

The OCI will measure light over a broader spectrum than today's ocean color instruments.

What does that mean?

The OCI will cover the full range of wavelengths in the Visible Spectrum. It will also see shorter Ultraviolet wavelengths along with some Infrared bands.

In addition, PACE will measure light at finer resolution than ever before. This will revolutionize our ability to distinguish important details in the ocean and atmosphere.

Some of today's ocean color instruments collect data at only five visible wavelengths.

Imagine seeing the world...
...with only five hues of blue and green.
Even over a broader color spectrum...
...five colors gives an incomplete picture.
PACE will provide detailed views of our colorful world...
...without the "blind spots" of previous sensors.

Why bother to view "invisible" wavelengths?

The OCI will include Ultraviolet and Infrared wavelengths to investigate tiny airborne particles known as aerosols, for example. Aerosols such as dust, pollen, smoke, and haze can significantly reduce the quality of the air we breathe.

Sensing beyond the Visible Spectrum has other benefits. In fact, there are beautiful things that our human eyes can't perceive.

Another example is X-ray technology, which uses extremely short "invisible" wavelengths. It is often used to examine classic oil paintings.

Van Gogh's "Patch of Grass"...
...was examined with X-rays...
...to reveal a hidden, older painting.

To reveal "hidden" details about our ocean and atmosphere, PACE will detect well beyond the Visible Spectrum.

PACE's fine-resolution measurements over a broad spectrum of light, known as hyperspectral imaging.

Scheduled to launch in 2022, PACE will extend and improve NASA's over 20-year record of observing ocean life, aerosols, and clouds.

The future of satellite observations of Earth's ocean and atmosphere is bright... and definitely more colorful.

More Wavelengths. Better Resolution.

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