NASA launches international mission to survey water on Earth

NASA launches international mission to survey water on Earth 

  • Recently, the International Satellite for Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT), led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has been launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Southern California.
  • The International Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission is a collaborative initiative between NASA and the French Space Agency.
  • The space agencies of Canada and Britain are also contributing to this mission.
  • SWOT is the first satellite mission to conduct the first global survey of Earth’s fresh water systems from space.
  • SWOT will cover the entire Earth’s surface between 78°S and 78°N latitude at least once every 21 days.
  • The payload of the SWOT rocket includes advanced microwave radar technology to collect high-quality measurements of more than 90% of the world’s oceans, lakes, reservoirs and rivers.
  • It will use a Ka-band radar interferometer (KaRIn). SWOT is specifically referred to as the Ka-band Radar Interferometer or KaRIn. Designed to measure the height of water using instruments such as
  • It emits radar pulses hitting the surface of the water and receives the returned signals using two antennae located on either side of the spacecraft.

Importance of SWOT

  • It will provide insight into the process by which oceans naturally moderate global temperatures by absorbing atmospheric heat and carbon dioxide and help mitigate climate change.
  • This mission will help in better understanding of the tipping point. The ‘tipping point’ is the point at which the oceans begin to emit heat instead of absorbing it. In this way the speed of global warming increases.
  • It will help policy makers to prepare and plan better to deal with disasters including floods and droughts.
  • This will help in better monitoring of sea level rise. Sea level rise directly affects communities and coastal ecosystems.

Source – The Hindu

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