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Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (EVI-4) (PREFIRE)

Status: Future, Formulation
Mission Category: Earth System Science Pathfinder Program, Earth Venture Class, Earth Venture-Instrument
Launch Date: August 2024

The Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE) will fly a pair of small CubeSat satellites to probe a little-studied portion of the radiant energy emitted by Earth for clues about Arctic warming, sea ice loss, and ice-sheet melting. PREFIRE will fly miniaturized thermal infrared spectrometers on two CubeSat satellites, each about the size of a loaf of bread. The sensors are based on technology previously flown on the Mars Climate Sounder, an instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The CubeSats will orbit Earth’s poles to measure far-infrared emissions and how they change throughout the day and over seasons. The observations will allow scientists to assess how changes in thermal infrared emissions at the top of Earth’s atmosphere are related to changes in cloud cover and surface conditions below, such as the amount of sea ice and meltwater on the surface of the ice. Tristan L’Ecuyer of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is the principal investigator.

Key Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (EVI-4) Facts

Mission/Portal Page:
Altitude:Distance from sea level. 470km
Inclination: 82°
Origination: NASA
Instruments: Miniaturized thermal infrared spectrometers on two CubeSat satellites
Project Scientist(s): Brian Drouin, JPL/CalTech
Principal Investigator(s): Tristan L'Ecuyer, University of Wisconsin-Madison