The climate crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, with experts warning of its catastrophic effects on the environment, wildlife, and humanity. The United States and South Korea are working together to address this threat by collaborating on space projects. During a recent visit to NASA facilities, Republic of Korea (ROK) President Yoon Suk Yeol and Vice President Kamala Harris saw some of NASA's climate research firsthand, highlighting the importance of cooperation and technology in addressing the climate crisis.
Global Cooperation in Space for Climate Change
The United States and South Korea are working together to use satellite technology to monitor the impacts of the climate crisis on Earth. The partnership has already led to the development and placement of satellites in orbit that can track air pollution in North America and Asia. Two such satellites include the Tropospheric Emissions: Monitoring of Pollution (TEMPO) mission and the ROK's Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS). Both satellites are designed to measure pollution and air quality across the United States and Northern Hemisphere.
Importance of Space in Measuring and Mitigating Climate Change
During the visit, Vice President Harris and President Yoon were briefed on the critical role of space in measuring and mitigating the effects of climate change. The dignitaries were joined by NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, Goddard Center Director Makenzie Lystrup, Korean Minister of Science Lee Jong-ho, and an assembly of Korean-American scientists. They discussed the significance of space technology in climate research and exploration, emphasizing the importance of continued cooperation and resource commitments to pursue climate science research.
Statement of Intent Between the United States and South Korea
NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Korean Minister of Science Lee Jong-ho signed a statement of intent between the United States and South Korea, committing additional resources and continued cooperation in the pursuit of climate science research and exploration. The growing cooperation between the two nations demonstrates that the future of space is collaborative and will strengthen scientific discovery in space and on Earth for decades to come.
NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope
During the visit, Vice President Harris and President Yoon were able to see assembly efforts for NASA's Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. The Roman Space Telescope is designed to hunt for exoplanets, similar to NASA's TESS spacecraft. Roman will also study dark matter and dark energy, and bring enhancements to the field of infrared astrophysics. It is currently expected to launch sometime in 2027.
South Korea's Contribution: Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO)
South Korea's first scientific space mission outside of Earth's orbit, the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO), or Danuri, is currently in orbit around the moon. Using its suite of advanced instruments, Danuri has been peering into permanently shadowed regions at the lunar poles to help hunt for water ice that might be used to support future moon missions under the Artemis program. The KPLO project is a significant contribution to global space exploration efforts.