A satellite that far-exceeded NASA’s expectations has finally fallen back to earth. The ERBS satellite, short for Earth Radiation Budget Satellite, reentered Earth’s atmosphere over the Bering Sea Sunday night.
Launched in 1984, the satellite was used to analyze Earth’s atmospheric processes. Such as measuring ozone and water vapor, aerosol concentrations and nitrogen dioxide levels. As well as how our atmosphere deals with the sun’s radiation. The satellite’s two-year life expectancy extended to an astounding 21 years. Talk about a solid piece of tech!
ERBS definitely deserves a medal. Without it, we wouldn’t have the Montreal Protocol Agreement. Signed in 1987 by several countries, it’s an agreement that significantly lessened our use of chlorofluorocarbons. Specifically the chemicals used in aerosol sprays, air conditioners, and refrigerators. The SAGE II (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II) onboard ERBS was responsible for discovering Earth’s ozone layer was in danger.
We don’t yet know if parts of ERBS survived re-entry. SAGE III on the international space station watches over the status of our atmosphere now. But we thank ERBS for its dedicated service and watchful eye. And for being instrumental in the efforts to try to save our planet.