published on 21 February 2019 in space

The Prisma satellite is almost ready for launching

There are only a few days to go before the launch of the mission of the Italian Space Agency PRISMA (PRecursore IperSpettrale della Missione Applicativa – Hyperspectral Precursor of the Application Mission), the satellite that will observe planet Earth with the most powerful hyperspectral instrument in operation in the world, able to function in numerous bands, from the visible to the near infrared (VNIR) up to short-wave infrared (SWIR). PRISMA will be launched from the European space base in Kourou in French Guyana on the night between the coming 8 and 9 March, using the VEGA European Space Agency launcher. From its orbit, at an altitude of around 620 kilometres, PRISMA will observe Earth providing valuable information on natural resources and the main environmental processes in progress (e.g. Interaction between the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere; observation of the changes in the environment and climate at global level; effects of anthropic activities on ecosystems). The information supplied by the satellite will be used to support the work to prevent risks that are natural (such as hydro-geological ones) and anthropic (including soil pollution), to monitor cultural assets, aid action in the event of humanitarian crises, agricultural activities and exploitation of mineral resources. Unlike satellite passive optical sensors currently in operation, which record the solar radiation reflected by our planet in a limited number of bands (usually ten or so), the PRISMA instrumentation is able to acquire no less than 240 bands. Hyperspectral technology makes it possible to see more than the human eye and recognise not only the shapes of objects but also the chemical elements that they contain.

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