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NASA prepares for PACE mission to launch satellite into space to examine Earth’s oceans

CHICAGO — NASA is preparing to launch its next major Earth and climate satellite.

The Plankton Aerosol Cloud Ocean Ecosystem mission or PACE is set for liftoff Tuesday morning from Kennedy Space Center.

PACE will capture Earth’s pulse through studying the interaction between the oceans and atmosphere like never before.

“This is a wonderful mission that is going to tell us about the health of our oceans and the quality of the air that we breathe,” Nicky Fox, head of science at NASA, said.

The PACE mission has been 21 plus years in the making.

“I’m just excited about the new way we’re going to be looking at our planet,” Fox said. “We’re going to be looking at the ocean with unprecedented detail and we talk about looking at ocean color with this mission and so if you think about looking at a prism, it looks like a piece of glass. But if you shine a light through it, you spread that out into all the colors of the rainbow and that is essentially what we are doing with PACE. We are sort of shining a light on the Earth’s water system and allowing us to look at them in unprecedented detail all the way from ultraviolet up to near infrared so not just looking at the fact that we have phytoplankton in the ocean, but actually to be able to look at the different species, some of which actually can be harmful for us.”

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