Aqua satellite blasts into
TORONTO - Canadian scientists hope to better understand
the Earth's complex water cycle when data starts pouring
in from a newly launched American satellite.
Aqua satellite blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base
in California Saturday on a six-year mission to observe
not only water, but everything from vegetation cover to
dissolved organic matter in the oceans.
instruments will also collect information on clouds, snow,
ice, temperatures, humidity and the evaporation of the
will have six different instruments tracking the global
movement of water as it cycles through the atmosphere,
ocean and land.
Walker of Environment Canada, said the information can
help save lives if it can forecast the next big flood
or ice storm.
are signals we need to monitor very closely what is happening
to our environment," she said.
Canada, a partner in the project, will be able to use
the data to determine how much snow falls and how deep
it appears in the last 10 years that snow cover is decreasing,"
goes well, Aqua will start beaming signals in August and
the spacecraft will return enough data each day to fill
the hard drives of 75 personal computers.
piece of equipment, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder,
will be able to determine temperatures on the planet's
member of the technical team responsible for the infrared
sounder, Dr. Edward Olsen, said it will improve weather
and climate forecasting because it can observe the entire
Earth over a short time span.