Today NASA launched its first weather and climate-forecasting satellite. It's designed to collect environmental data, monitor weather patterns, natural disasters and surface temperatures -- all in the aid of better weather and climate prediction.
The National polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system Preparatory Project, or NPP for short, blasted off from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California at 10.48 this morning. The people-carrier sized Earth-observing satellite will sit in a polar-orbit at 512 miles above the Earth, and beam back around four terabytes of data a day. It'll primarily be aimed at the US, but let's hope it'll be able to give us Brits a better prediction of when, not if, it's going to rain. Nothing worse than being caught short without an umbrella. [Space.com]