The awesomely named CATS (Cloud-Aerosol Transport System) is all about measuring clouds and aerosols (like volcano ash or man made emissions) from the International Space Station. It uses a remote-sensing Lidar instrument that.
Well, apart from some cool science whats the big deal?
CATS is a technology experiment (not a mission) because it’s too small (aka too cheap) with a much smaller team than a mission would have. This is all about demonstrating science at the International Space Station can be leaner, cheaper, with a smaller team and still deliver.
The mission could last for anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, end goal is to use CATS learnings to improve modeling around how clouds and aerosols reflect and affect climate change.
Also what’s not to love about the picture and the patch!