A satellite lifted off Friday from California on a mission to survey nearly all bodies of water on Earth, offering key insights on how they infl...A satellite lifted off Friday from California on a mission to survey nearly all bodies of water on Earth, offering key insights on how they influence or are impacted by climate change.
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, a billion-dollar project jointly developed by NASA and France's space agency CNES, took off at 1146 GMT atop a SpaceX rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base.
According to a statement from NASA, it will start collecting scientific data in about six months after undergoing checks and calibrations.
"SWOT will bring us a revolutionary advance in our understanding of how water moves around our planet," said Karen St. Germain, NASA's Earth Science Division director, ahead of the launch.
"We will be able to see detail in eddies and currents and circulation in the oceans that we have never been able to see before."
She said this would help predict floods in areas with too much water, and manage water in regions prone to drought.
Selma Cherchali, of the French space agency CNES, told a press conference on Tuesday that the satellite represents a "revolution in hydrology. We are aiming to provide fine-scale observations ten times better than the current technology."