According to the ESA, EarthCARE is a joint European-Japanese mission intended to improve the understanding of the Earth’s radiation balance and to minimise uncertainties in climate change prediction models by measuring simultaneously the vertical structure and horizontal distribution of cloud and aerosol fields together with outgoing radiation over all climate zones.
The SSTL-built MSI will use new technologies developed in Europe to provide information on the horizontal structures of clouds, such as cloud type and cover, and cloud optical and microphysical properties.
Operating from an orbit of around 400km, the MSI will image the Earth at 500m ground sample distance (GSD) over a swath width (the strip of the Earth’s surface from which data will be collected by the satellite) of 150km.
According to SSTL, the instrument will provide spatial context for the single-point measurements made by the radar and LIDAR systems, imaging the Earth in seven spectral bands: one visible, one near-infrared (IR), two short-wave IR and three thermal IR.
The EarthCARE Mission is part of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP) led by the ESA.
The EarthCARE Mission will be the third Earth Explorer Core Mission and will be implemented in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) who will provide one of the core instruments.