Astronauts spot the world’s biggest polluters from the space station

It is enormous.

Emote me

Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are on a mission to expose the biggest polluters from below.

As NASA wrote this week, the agency installed methane visualization software on the ISS over the summer. Dubbed the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT for short) project, the initiative aims to help scientists better understand the role airborne dust plays in the greenhouse effect that has such harmful effects. on our climate.

That it was able to capture the chemical signature of methane was more a by-product than its primary mission – but now it has been able to identify more than 50 “super-emitters” of the gas which include “facilities , equipment and other infrastructure, typically in the fossil fuel, waste or agricultural sectors, which emit methane at high rates.” Be ashamed, polluters!

Endless Possibilities

Now that the agency knows how powerful the possibilities of the EMIT program are, they are ready to exploit it even more.

“Controlling methane emissions is key to limiting global warming. This exciting new development will not only help researchers better identify the origin of methane leaks, but also provide insight into how they can be addressed quickly. “, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in The Agency’s report “EMIT is proving to be an essential tool in our toolbox for measuring this potent greenhouse gas – and stopping it at The source.”

As CNET noted in its report on EMIT, the data is particularly important because 2021 and this year have seen record increases in atmospheric methane emissions since they began to be measured in the early 1980s. These increases appear to correspond to a rise in power of methane-producing activities, such as fossil fuel production and poor waste management.

In short: having this new ability to detect methane emissions from above will be crucial in identifying and hopefully stopping or slowing down the world’s biggest polluters, that is if governments commit .

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