The Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission


    In News

    • NASA’s high-resolution air pollution monitoring instrument TEMPO lifted atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

    About TEMPO

    • It is the first funded project of NASA’s Earth Venture Instrument program, which includes small, targeted science investigations designed to complement NASA’s larger research missions.
      • It is part of the agency’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program. 
    • It will measure atmospheric pollution covering most of North America, from Mexico City to the Canadian tar/oil sands, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific hourly and at high spatial resolution. 
      • It covers not only the continental United States, but also Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas, and part of the island of Hispaniola. 
    • It will take important scientific observations, including that of ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and formaldehyde levels


    • TEMPO’s measurements from geostationary orbit (GEO) of tropospheric ozone, ozone precursors, aerosols, and clouds will create a revolutionary dataset that provides understanding and improves prediction of air quality (AQ) and climate forcing.
    • TEMPO data will play an important role in the scientific analysis of pollution, including studies of rush hour pollution, the potential for improved air quality alerts, the effects of lightning on ozone, the movement of pollution from forest fires and volcanoes, and even the effects of fertilizer application.  

    Geostationary orbit (GEO)

    • Satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO) circle Earth above the equator from west to east following Earth’s rotation – taking 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds – by travelling at exactly the same rate as Earth. 
    • This makes satellites in GEO appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position.
    •  In order to perfectly match Earth’s rotation, the speed of GEO satellites should be about 3 km per second at an altitude of 35 786 km. 
      • This is much farther from Earth’s surface compared to many satellites.
    • It is used by satellites that need to stay constantly above one particular place over Earth, such as telecommunication satellites. 
    • It can also be used by weather monitoring satellites, because they can continually observe specific areas to see how weather trends emerge there