NASA's SWOT Mission Aims To Map Earth's Surface Water


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An artist's depiction of the SWOT satellite launched on December 16, 2022 (Credit: Public Domain)

Water is essential for life on Earth. Yet, scientists currently have comprehensive information on just a few thousand lakes worldwide. A NASA-led international mission plans to change that with the first-ever global survey of nearly all water on Earth's surface.

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite successfully launched from California on December 16, 2022. The solar-powered spacecraft will scan over 90 percent of the planet every 21 days. It will measure 95 percent of the world's lakes larger than 15 acres (60,702 square meters). SWOT will also gather data on rivers wider than 330 feet (100 meters) across. The information will allow researchers to better understand how the planet's water cycle is being affected by climate change.

SWOT will also monitor the oceans. This will allow scientists to better track sea level rise. The information will allow countries to take measures to protect coastal communities and ecosystems before it is too late.

The SWOT mission will collect data on the world's fresh and sea water (Credit: Public Domain)

"SWOT will transform our ability to track freshwater on planet Earth and currents in the ocean," said Professor Paul Bates of the University of Bristol. "For the first time, we will be able to track flood waves moving down river systems and see the rise and fall of water levels in millions of lakes and wetlands worldwide."

The SWOT mission is currently expected to last for three years. However, it could go on for longer if the satellite continues to provide data.



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  • charlottebetrix
    Wow that's going to be really useful but also I hope they don't injure anybody
    • sovusezicisi
      I get the feeling that puting humans and tech in space is not good what if we harm earth and space!
      • fojetynyjeme
        Wow i didn't know this!
        • goodgamegirl032
          THAT IS SO COOL!!
          • alice123456789
            • dutegezijezi
              This is as interesting as smart as it is :0(:
              • zzy
                zzy27 days
                This is smart but we need good reasons to waste millions of dollars on a radioactive satellite that could crash into earth.
              • mlaska
                Ms. Laska28 days
                I like this article about NASA's SWOT Mission Aims To Map Earth's Surface Water by Ian Shanas
                • blobblob
                  blobblob28 days
                  I hope that using SWOT can help us know more accurate information about climate change in a faster time. Leonardo DiCaprio once said, "Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating." We need to stop this.
                • racheldare
                  racheldare29 days
                  It is impressive how that satellite works, and how it measures the surface water.