- When and where were the public hearings?
- Where were the public notices for this worldwide project?
- Where is the environmental review?
- Did they evaluate the costs?
- Who approved this?
- Did they ask you or me?
In this image made from video provided by NASA, a SpaceX rocket carrying the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. Credit: NASA via AP
Posted at Phys.org
Satellite launched to map the world’s oceans, lakes, rivers
by Marcia Dunn
December 16, 2022
…Nicknamed SWOT—short for Surface Water and Ocean Topography…About the size of a SUV, the satellite will measure the height of water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface, allowing scientists to track the flow and identify potential high-risk areas. It will also survey millions of lakes as well as 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) of rivers.
The satellite will shoot radar pulses at Earth, with the signals bouncing back to be received by a pair of antennas, one on each end of a 33-foot (10-meter) boom.
It should be able to make out currents and eddies less than 13 miles (21 kilometers) across, as well as areas of the ocean where water of varying temperatures merge.
NASA’s current fleet of nearly 30 Earth-observing satellites cannot make out such slight features. And while these older satellites can map the extent of lakes and rivers, their measurements are not as detailed, said the University of North Carolina’s Tamlin Pavelsky, who is part of the mission.
Perhaps most importantly, the satellite will reveal the location and speed of rising sea levels and the shift of coastlines, key to saving lives and property. It will cover the globe between the Arctic and Antarctica at least once every three weeks, as it orbits more than 550 miles (890 kilometers) high. The mission is expected to last three years.
Laurie Leshin, the director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, noted that while the agency is known for its Mars rovers and space telescopes, “this is the planet we care most about.”
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