Romania, October 17, 2014: The Romanian National Institute for Research and Development in Optoelectronics signed a contract at ESA headquarters in Paris on October 14, to head the Multiply project and develop an airborne multi-wavelength high spectral resolution LiDAR.
The instrument, which will take over two years to build, is designed to probe the atmosphere from an aircraft to detect and map aerosols. Aerosols are minute particles suspended in the atmosphere. Since they scatter and absorb sunlight, we notice their presence when they are sufficiently large because they cause haze and redden sunrises and sunsets.
The contract, worth almost €3 million, was signed by Roxana Radvan, the Deputy General-Director of Romania’s National Institute for Research and Development in Optoelectronics.
A better understanding of the effect aerosols have on the climate and weather is an objective for a number of future ESA satellite missions, such as EarthCARE, Sentinel-4 and Sentinel-5. The new airborne instrument is expected to play an important role in helping to prepare these missions and in validating their measurements from space.
The new airborne lidar will be an essential resource for ESA’s Campaigns office, which carries out extensive field experiments to support the development of new space technologies and to ensure Earth observation satellites are delivering accurate data.
Malcolm Davidson, head of Campaigns at ESA said, “The development of an airborne high spectral resolution LiDAR fills an important gap in the capabilities of airborne sensors in Europe. The Multiply instrument will be extremely valuable to improve our understanding on the distribution and origin of aerosols in the atmosphere and for preparing and making best use of atmospheric Earth observation satellites.”