Climate-Monitoring Cubesat Mission (Cm2): a Project for Global Mesopause Temperature Sensing


Richard A. Doe and Steven Watchorn “Climate-monitoring CubeSat mission (CM2): a project for global mesopause temperature sensing”, Proc. SPIE 8153, Earth Observing Systems XVI, 81530Q (13 September 2011);


The goals of the Climate Monitoring CubeSat Mission (CM2) are to accelerate climate projection by obtaining global temperature, tidal and wave measurements with a simple CubeSat-based imaging spectrograph; and to demonstrate how a high-resolution imaging spectrograph can be deployed on a CubeSat satellite. In the middle atmosphere (50 – 100 km), beyond the reach of balloons or satellites, thermal signatures of CO2 radiation and wave activity have been largely missing from climate model inputs. This paper outlines an instrument to advance the state of the art in atmospheric climate projection by providing critical global measurements of middle-atmosphere temperatures and waves with a CubeSatscale imaging spectrograph. The CM2 will remotely sense middle-atmosphere temperatures and waves at ~90 km by analyzing spectra of intrinsically bright molecular oxygen emissions at near-infrared wavelengths in the O2 atmospheric band. The core instrument will be a miniaturized imaging spectrograph based on a monolithic spatial heterodyne spectrometer (SHS). This spectrograph will have sensitivity and spectral resolution to extract temperatures with 10° K precision and waves with 4 km scale resolution along a ~200 km cross-track swath. The SHS is significantly more robust than conventional interferometers, and thus better suited to space-based observation. Acquiring high-resolution middle-atmosphere temperature, tidal, and wave data on a daily, global basis will significantly improve climate models, and will help assess long-term greenhouse gas mitigation policy impact on upper-atmosphere thermal signatures. The CM2 program will also establish the efficacy of high-resolution CubeSat-based broadband (near-IR to UV) spectroscopy for application to other atmospheric research missions.

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