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Illustration shows a satellite orbiting Earth with a closeup view of a device pointed down at Earth's surface.
Illustration of Libera
Credit: Martha Lageschulte, Ball Aerospace

Telescope Details



To be launched into polar orbit by 2027 on NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-3 satellite. 


Libera will measure Earth’s radiation to continue and improve the decades-long data record of the balance between the Sun’s energy arriving at the Earth and the amount the Earth absorbs, reflects and emits back into space day by day. This balance is a key measurement for quantifying how the Earth’s climate changes over time.

NIST’s role:

NIST designed and built advanced detectors to more accurately measure the Earth’s radiation across a broadband light spectrum (0.3 to 200 micrometers) and link the results to international standards (the SI) to help calibrate measurements across all wavelengths. The detectors, to be mounted on four radiometers, will be made of metal patterned on silicon wafers with very black carbon nanotubes to absorb the incoming light.  

Other interesting facts:

In Roman mythology, Libera is the daughter of Ceres, goddess of agriculture. 

Supported by:

NASA Langley Research Center

Operated by:

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Ball Aerospace and Utah State University


Close-up of chip shows green square reading "Libera."
NIST’s Libera chip design with carbon nanotubes in the center
Credit: NIST
Created May 18, 2022, Updated December 6, 2022