UK and France set aside differences to launch ‘ambitious’ new space mission | Science

UK and France set aside differences to launch 'ambitious' new space mission |  Science

Britain’s space agency has already provided funding for the MicroCarb mission, which will launch the world’s first European satellite dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the main greenhouse gas caused by human activity. The agreement was signed at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow by Dr Paul Butt, chief executive of the British Space Agency, and Laurence Monoyer Smith, director of sustainable development at the French space agency CNES.

The UK will provide an additional £3.9 million for the mission, which is due to launch in early 2023.

The new funding brings the UK’s contribution to £13.9 million as the two agencies have agreed to work on the mission.

MicroCarb data will make a significant contribution to dealing with the climate crisis, providing valuable information about how much carbon is being released from natural processes and how much is human activities.

It will measure carbon dioxide very precisely and will be able to detect changes associated with surface emissions and uptake worldwide from our cities, forests and oceans.

A critical feature of the satellite is the monitoring mode of the city survey, which will allow mapping of the distribution of carbon dioxide between cities to reduce emissions from cities responsible for high levels of emissions.

This information, in turn, will help decision makers on how best to deal with the climate crisis.

This will also come when another landmark agreement between the UK and India will be unveiled at COP26 today to create a Clean Energy Sharing Scheme for Renewable Technologies, known as the Green Grid Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid.

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UK Science Minister George Freeman said of the MicroCarb mission: “The UK is leading the way in using satellites in space to monitor, understand and combat climate change.

Our National Space Strategy defines our ambition to meet global challenges through international cooperation and strengthen our position as a scientific and technical superpower.

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“MicroCarb puts our space sector at the center of a major European space mission that will benefit global efforts to achieve Net Zero and build a more sustainable future.”

The new funding will go to complete construction and testing of the satellite, which will be commanded by Thales Alenia Space at RAL Space’s assembly and testing facilities at Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire.

The money will also go to the National Center for Earth Observation Experts at the Universities of Leicester and Edinburgh to translate monitoring of atmospheric carbon dioxide into maps showing carbon sources, sinks and the Teddington National Physical Laboratory to understand how aspects of monitoring and instrumentation contribute. . to understand the data.

“The center strongly supports France’s efforts to reach the goal of the Paris Agreement,” said Laurence Monoyer-Smith, director of sustainable development at the French National Center for Space Studies.

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We are therefore pleased to collaborate with the British Space Agency to develop this ambitious and innovative mission that will provide invaluable insight into where on the planet CO2 is being emitted and captured and how these flows will evolve under the influence of climate change. “

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MicroCarb data will help monitor international progress in achieving the Paris Agreement’s climate goal of limiting global surface temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius in pre-industrial temperatures, a goal that was undone in 2015 at the previous climate summit.

World leaders recently warned that it was necessary to prevent a rise in global temperatures after the United Nations published the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s climate report, which warned that not doing so would be a “red code” for humanity.

But the agreement could also signal progress in the relationship between France and Britain, which has become more turbulent in recent months due to post-Brexit fishing disputes.

Leading scientists have warned French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Boris Johnson against eating beef, fearing that arguments could derail progress at the crucial COP26 climate summit.

COP26 participants hope the New Deal will do enough to prevent important negotiations from being overshadowed by Anglo-French tension.

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