UK & World News
Extreme Weather Rocket Blasts-Off From Japan
A cutting-edge science satellite that will monitor the world's weather and help scientists understand climate change and storms has been launched in Japan.
The US built Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory (GPM) was aboard a 174ft rocket which blasted into space from Tanegashima Island, off the south of Japan.
The probe will track rain and snowfall across the world to help scientists better understand why Earth's turbulent weather is changing.
GPM will link data from current and future satellites to produce a global snapshot of the world's weather every three hours.
Steve Neeck, from Nasa, said: "Rain and snowfall affect our daily lives in many ways. The distribution of precipitation directly affects the availability of fresh water for sustaining life.
"Extreme precipitation events like hurricanes, blizzards, floods, droughts and landslides have significant socio-economic impacts on our society."
Designed and built at Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center, the GPM weighs four tons and is the size of a fire engine.
Riko Oki, from Japan's JAXA space agency, said: "Precipitation is one of the most basic and important environmental elements relating to our daily lives."
"We believe that rain and snow information observed by GPM will be to the benefit of all."
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