News from Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA to Discuss New Polar Climate Mission During Media Teleconference

The PREFIRE mission will launch the first of two CubeSats – depicted in this artist’s concept orbiting Earth – into space on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, to study how much heat the planet absorbs and emits from its polar regions. These measurements will inform climate and ice models.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA is hosting a media call at 3 p.m. EDT (12 p.m. PDT), Wednesday, May 15, to discuss the agency’s PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) mission, which aims to improve life on Earth by studying heat loss from Earth’s polar regions and provide information on our changing climate.

The first of two shoebox-sized satellites is targeted to launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket no earlier than Wednesday, May 22. The launch date for the second satellite will be announced shortly after the launch of the first satellite.

Earth absorbs a lot of energy from the Sun at the tropics. Weather and ocean currents move that heat energy toward the poles, where the heat radiates upward into space. Much of that heat is in far-infrared wavelengths and has never been systematically measured. The data from PREFIRE will address this knowledge gap for the benefit of all by improving predictions of climate change and sea level rise.

The audio-only teleconference will be streamed live on the agency’s website.

Participants include:

  • Karen St. Germain, director, Earth Science Division, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Mary White, project manager, PREFIRE, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Southern California
  • Tristan L’Ecuyer, principal investigator, PREFIRE, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Peter Beck, CEO and founder, Rocket Lab

For more information about NASA’s PREFIRE mission, visit:

The pair of CubeSats will measure how the Arctic and Antarctic help to regulate Earth’s climate.