Earth from space: special edition

Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. In this special edition, ESA’s Aeolus Project Manager, Anders Elfving, joins us in the cleanroom at Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse, France, to talk about the challenges in developing the mission’s pioneering laser technology.

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Profiling the wind

ESA’s Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite will be launched later this year to measure the world’s winds from space. The satellite carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit: Aladin, which includes two powerful lasers, a large telescope and very sensitive receivers. The laser generates ultraviolet light that is beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world’s winds – a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space. These vertical slices through the atmosphere, along with information it gathers on aerosols and clouds, will improve our understanding of atmospheric dynamics and contribute to climate research. As well as advancing science, Aeolus will play an important role in improving weather forecasts. The mission will also complement information about the atmosphere being provided by the Copernicus Sentinel missions.