The small satellite captured global ice clouds for the first time

A satellite which is of a size of a bread loaf has captured the first global picture of the small frozen particles which are formed inside the clouds which are named as ice clouds.  

Astronomers who are observing the Earth from a small space station has found that there is a huge white cloud which is spread across the planet. They have found that the clouds have small frozen particles which are known as ice clouds via the experimental small satellite.

Ice clouds are usually made up of tiny particles which are present high in the atmosphere. It absorbs the moisture and after that ice crystals grow and it becomes heavier, which causes them to fall to lower altitudes. After getting heavy, they tend to fall and melt to form the raindrops. These ice crystals also affect the energy budget of the Sun’s energy by reflecting or absorbing that energy. It also affects the emission of the heat from the Earth into space. This effect plays a huge role in affecting the weather and climatic models.

NASA, Satellite

The measurement for the atmospheric ice on a global scale is still difficult and highly unstable because the satellites are unable to detect the number of small ice particles which are present inside the clouds. These particles are so opaque that even infrared and visible sensors cannot penetrate through them.

The weight of these are merely 10 pounds and are about the size of the roll of bread, they have got three-pivot disposition control, a deployable UHF communications antenna and deployable solar arrays. The CubeSat which is present turns around the pivot which is similar to the plate which turns on a shaft.

According to the Dong Wu, who is the IceCube principal investigator present at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland said, “Originally a 30-day technology-demonstration mission, IceCube is still fully operational in low-Earth orbit almost a year later, measuring ice clouds and providing data that’s good enough to do some real science. The hard part about developing the CubeSat is making the commercial parts durable in space. We bought commercial components for IceCube and spent a lot of time testing the components making sure each part worked.”

The team of IceCube was built the spacecraft with the help of funds from NASA’s Earth Science Technolgy Office’s (ESTO) In-Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies (InVEST) program.


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