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Space Hardware Science

Europe Launches Flood-Predicting Satellite and Test Probe 28

MikeChino writes to mention that the European Space Agency has launched a pair of satellites, one that will pinpoint accurately the future location and intensity of floods and droughts, and the other aimed at testing new tech. Launched on a Russian rocket launcher from the Plesestk cosmodrome, the SMOS probe will measure soil moisture, plant growth, and ocean salt levels across the globe. The measurements gathered by the SMOS probe can be used to track ocean circulation patterns and soil moisture — data that can be used to predict quickly drought and flood risk in certain areas, as well as the intricacies of the planet's climate cycle. The other satellite, a smaller demonstration probe dubbed Proba 2, will test 17 new technologies ranging from a new wide-angle view camera to a xenon-fed resistojet thruster.
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Europe Launches Flood-Predicting Satellite and Test Probe

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  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday November 02, 2009 @08:11PM (#29957148)

    So when they measure that soil moisture is zero for a while, they can predict that a drought is going to have happened, and with soil moisture of about 6 feet of surface water, they can predict that flooding is going to have happened. Finally we should have a system more accurate than whatever those "meteorologists" use.

    The irony here is that, despite the sarcasm, this indeed is a faster system. Meteorologists can only measure where they have instruments that they can get data from. If your instrument gets washed out or never existed in the first place, then you don't get a measurement. While this satellite can measure anything it passes over.

  • Carefully worded! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2009 @04:52AM (#29961216) Homepage that can be used to predict quickly drought and flood risk in certain areas,

    Notice how "gives little to no warning" was worded as "predict quickly".

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