A Scottish company has partnered with NASA for a mission observing Earth from the International Space Station.
Alpha Data, which has offices in Edinburgh, was involved in the successful activation and early data collection of the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT).
Developed in partnership with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), it was installed on the exterior of the space station in July.
It is said to fill a critical gap in understanding the Earth’s atmosphere and specifically, the dust cycle.
The instrument consists of state-of-the-art imaging that will investigate visible and infrared light to determine the makeup of mineral dust clouds and their role in warming and cooling the atmosphere.
EMIT will observe Earth from the outside of the ISS and will deliver data detailing how mineral dust clouds carried by high winds from arid regions over vast distances may heat or cool the atmosphere as they travel.
David Dolman, software design engineer at Alpha Data, described the instrument as setting a “new standard” in high-performance.
“The EMIT mission will advance our knowledge and understanding of dust’s effects throughout the Earth system and to human populations now and in the future,” said Dolman.
“This instrument sets a new standard in high-performance onboard processing and storage of data that is being used on the Space Station.”