NASA just launched a powerful new instrument to study dust

A payload headed for the International Space Station might assist researchers back on Earth in resolving a long-standing climate riddle.

The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT), a crucial tool for NASA's climate study, was launched Thursday night from the Kennedy Space Center on board a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Because dust is a surprise powerful factor in the upper atmosphere, NASA is determined to learn more about it.

The microscopic particles that rise from deserts and other arid regions can either cool or heat our planet, depending on a variety of different conditions.

But scientists are still unable to determine which scenario is truly taking place on a global scale.

The fact that dust particles exist in a variety of colors is one reason why it is such a mystery. For instance, the presence of iron may explain why it is dark red.

On the other hand, clay-containing dust is typically significantly lighter in hue.

The planet will cool thanks to the reflection of sunlight by those lighter dust particles.