February 8, 2023

NASA organizes the first survey of water from space

a Satellites SWOT (Surface water and ocean topography, or Topography of Surface Waters and Oceans) this Thursday, the 13th, from Southern California. The expedition seeks to conduct research on lakes, rivers, and oceans Planet Earth Seen from space for the first time in history.

The radar satellite was built with the goal of providing a completely unprecedented view of the water that corresponds to about 70% of our planet, facilitating analysis of consequences derived from climate change, such as the much-talked-about global warming. According to scientist Ben Hamilton, lead of NASA’s Sea Level Change Team, “It’s really the first mission to observe almost all of the water on the planet’s surface.”

The satellite’s structure is about the size of an SUV, and it will be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket, built and operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, which was scheduled to launch Thursday, departing from the US Space Force base at Vanderburgh. , about 280 km northwest of Los Angeles.

Satellite setup

SWOT was built to accurately measure differences in surface heights near eddies and currents, where scientists believe most of the ocean’s carbon and heat depletion occurs. The current satellite is able to record these changes at ten times higher quality than previously available technologies.

The satellite takes about 20 years to build, and uses microwave radar technology, which seeks to collect surface measurements of lakes, reservoirs, rivers and oceans in detail and with high accuracy, capturing this information in more than 90% of the planet.

Data will be produced for several months, and land surveys will be carried out at least twice every 21 days, in order to improve meteorological and climatic forecasts, as well as ocean circulation models, in addition to which they will help measure scarcity. Fresh water supply for drought-stricken areas.

Yet another goal of the mission is to discover how the oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide and atmospheric heat, controlling climate change and temperatures around the world.

Finally, SWOT is built on jet propulsion plant (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in collaboration with counterparts in Canada and France. The satellite is one of 15 missions already listed by the National Research Council for projects that NASA intends to implement within the next 10 years.