Background of SMILES

Increasing of serious global environmental issues

Human activity is a cause of the emission of the anthropogenic composition into the atmosphere. These emission has been induced serious environmental problems, such as ozone depletion, global warming, and air pollutions. But oftenly, signal of the environmental problem is quite difficult since these anthropogenic atmospheric compositions are quite minor in the atmosphere.

SMILES is a sensor that measures the global atmospheric environment with very high sensitivity.

SMILES is the first sensor to observe the global environment in "KIBO". SMILES takes full advantage of the exposed facility of the ISS platform. It comes equipped with a heavy submillimeter-wave cryogenic superconducting receiver that proved difficult in conventional small lightweight satellites. By taking full advantage of its splendid high-sensitivity technology, the equipment observes the global environment with a high degree of sophistication.

Conceptual image of Kibo(c) JAXA
SMILES Flight Model
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The potential of SMILES

SMILES observes 16 or more trace components of the atmosphere as the key to elucidating the problems of ozone depletion and the global warming phenomenon with an accuracy about 10 times greater than that of conventional systems. Its observation region covers the latitude region 65N and 38S. The altitude of the target region ranges from the upper troposphere (8 km) to the mesosphere (90 km). The capability to cover such an unprecedentedly wide atmospheric altitude region is another main feature of SMILES.

SMILES includes the research activity of NICT remote sensing in the submillimeter-wave region.

Submillimeter (SMM)-wave remote sensing was previously very difficult to develop technically, because SMM is the region of technology gap between radio waves and light. NICT has been committed to observing the global atmosphere since the 1990s by using a superconducting receiver in millimeter and submillimeter-wave region. Prior to developing the International Space Station (ISS), NICT succeeded in developing balloon-born SMILES and has achieved a series of impressive technical demonstrations.

SMILES cooperative structure

SMILES was jointly developed by the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). NICT and JAXA have research collaborations for SMILES instrumental development with National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Osaka Prefecture University, and Toho University.

NICT and Odin/SMR team in Chalmers University, Sweden cooperatively develop the NICT/L2 research products and the L3 products under the MOU between NICT and Chalmers University.

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