ALL NEWS

USU space lab gets $5.7M to calibrate next-gen climate science tool

Apr 20, 2021, 3:49 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm
USU space lab...
Vacuum chamber at USU Space Dynamics Laboratory (Photo: Allison Bills SDL)
(Photo: Allison Bills SDL)

The space lab at Utah State University (USU) recently won a $5.7 million contract from NASA to calibrate the Libera system, which will measure how much energy comes to the Earth from the sun and how much of that goes back into space.

USU Space Lab spotlight

Libera (pronounced “LIB-er-uh”) is named for the daughter of Ceres in Roman mythology. NASA’s existing CERES system, in use for about 25 years, takes similar measurements using satellites and other tools. Libera represents the next generation of space-based tools designed to do the same job.

“It’s great to be involved with programs like this that produce meaningful science data,” said James Peterson, the calibration-branch head for civil space at USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory.

Read more: USU assists in successful Bennu asteroid sample collection mission

He said the project will involve testing Libera’s sensitive instruments in a vacuum chamber. Once it’s in orbit, Libera will measure light coming from the sun and absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land masses, then reflected back into space or radiated in the infrared range.

“It’s the balance of how much total energy is coming in [compared] to how much total energy is leaving the Earth in the form of radiation,” Peterson told KSL NewsRadio.

Over time, that data will be critical to understanding how Earth’s climate is changing.

Peterson said the Libera instrument is about the size of a suitcase. Scientists will attach it to a larger satellite system called JPSS-3, which should launch into a polar orbit in 2027.

Related: Take a virtual tour of the space lab at USU

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

SLCPD cruiser...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD officer witnesses wrong-way drunk driver crash into embankment

At around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, an SLCPD officer witnessed a 2009 black Ford F-150 traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane. 
14 hours ago
This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
14 hours ago
In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

Cosmic seaplanes and self-growing bricks could help us explore other worlds

In the golden age of space exploration we live in, cosmic revelations seem to occur more frequently than ever before.
2 days ago
The Chinese national flag is seen at the entrance to the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing...
By Zachary Cohen, CNN

A look at China’s history of spying in the US

The suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that violated American airspace this week has fueled a diplomatic crisis with the postponement of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's planned trip to Beijing.
2 days ago
Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being...
Waverly Golden

AirMed responds to tubing accident in Peter Sinks, Logan

Around 3:15 p.m. Saturday, February 4, a 34-year-old female sustained critical injuries after being struck by a snowmobile.
2 days ago
A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023, in this picture obtained ...
Zachary Cohen, CNN

US military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon off US East Coast, US official says

The US military has shot down the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Eastern Seaboard, a US official said Saturday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
USU space lab gets $5.7M to calibrate next-gen climate science tool