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NASA and JAXA launch a new satellite to help track climate change

Saturday, March 1, 2014, 6:50 PM -

NASA's newest weather satellite is orbiting high above the earth today. 

The four-ton spacecraft soared into space aboard a Japanese rocket. 

The U.S. space agency in partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the satellite Thursday afternoon from a space centre in southern Japan. 

The Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory (GPM) will measure rainfall and snowfall around the world. NASA says the GPM Core Observatory will help scientists better understand the earth's changing climate. 

"NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch the GPM Core Observatory satellite carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space," wrote NASA in a mission overview

The satellite will map global precipitation every three hours to get a better view of weather and climate cycles. GPM will also help improve forecasts for extreme weather events like floods.

(Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

(Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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"The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society." 

The GPM Core Observatory is the first of NASA's five planned earth science missions launching this year.

With files from NASA

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