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GPM Satellite To Usher In a New Era of Weather Observation

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the more-climate-data-to-argue-about dept.

Space 31

Zothecula writes: "A new satellite designed to take detailed, near real-time measurements of rain and snowfall on a global scale whilst mapping the interior of storm systems is set to launch. The Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory has been in development since 2005 and is a collaboration project between NASA and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The satellite is due to be launched on the Japanese manufactured H-IIA delivery vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Centre, Tanegashima Island, Japan, on February 27."

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Progress (3, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46122725)

I guess that we've come a long way from the weather rock...

Re:Progress (2)

RiscIt (95258) | about 8 months ago | (#46122753)

Perhaps, but with the right launching apparatus that rock could kick this satellites ass.

Re:Progress (2)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46122985)

That begs the question, would an otherwise natural rock launched into orbit be considered a natural satellite or an artificial satellite?

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46123123)

If natural, how much reworking does an artificial satellite require? If I just send up a bunch of ore, that's natural. If I have a blob of formless steel, is that natural? What about a bunch of disconnected copper wiring or a marble sculpture?

Define natural. (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#46125613)

In an ant-hill natural? A beaver dam? A coral reef? What is it that makes human constructs artificial while the engineering projects of all other animals are considered natural?

Re:Define natural. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 9 months ago | (#46126933)

Because we as a species consider ourselves human and we live in a human state while other life forms are in a natural state.

Of course it is semantics. We consider what we do to be a separation from the natural state of things that would exist had we not existed. We even do the same for things that exist because it had to adapt to our existence. It is more or less just a way to distinguish between our efforts and the efforts/results of nature and the production of plants and animals within it.

Now a more proper question might be what makes natural better then artificial. The answer to that can be way more complex then I'm willing to enter.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46125481)

That begs the question,

No. No it doesn't.

Fukushima (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46122883)

Is this going to ameliorate the IMPENDING NUCLEAR WINTER?

Re:Fukushima (1)

blindseer (891256) | about 8 months ago | (#46123057)

No, but it will accurately track the path of the radioactive fallout.

Re:Fukushima (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#46125649)

What, is Fukushima getting ready to completely vaporize Japan and they're just keeping it under wraps?

Nuclear winter isn't about radioactive fallout, they have another name for that: radioactive fallout.

Nuclear winter refers to a global nuclear catastrophy that manages to throw enough particulate matter into the upper atmosphere to rival a massive volcano eruption and shade the Earths surface sufficiently cause one or more years of perpetual winter-like weather. Even during the cold war, most (informed) people didn't think that a full-scale global nuclear exchange would manage such a thing on it's own, instead they expected that the smoke from all the cities burning unchecked after the near-total collapse of civilization would do the job.

Weather? (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 months ago | (#46122805)

Living on the west coast, I just assumed we had gotten rid of that stuff.

Re:Weather? (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46122919)

Living on the west coast, I just assumed we had gotten rid of that stuff.

West coast best coast as usual. We have infinite sunshine AND In N Out.

Re:Weather? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46122993)

Well, sometimes your state catches on fire, though.

Re:Weather? (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 8 months ago | (#46123129)

Well, the upper midwest has the two seasons: winter and road constructions
California used to have two seasons also:wildfires and mudslides, but is working hard at eliminating the latter.

Re:Weather? (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about 8 months ago | (#46123161)

Well, the upper midwest has the two seasons: winter and road constructions.

There's a sign at the Oregon border: "Welcome to Oregon. Road Construction Next 300 miles"

Re:Weather? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46123723)

Well, the upper midwest has the two seasons: winter and road constructions

Here in Minny, we measure winter from the first snowfall and the severity of the winter weather.

Two years ago, winter lasted about 3 months and was pretty mild. On a scale of 1 (fun) - 10 (get me out of here): 3. Yay Minny!

Last year, winter lasted 6 months. It snowed in November and it snowed in May. First triathlon of the year? May. 52 degrees F, rainy, windy, water temperature was 59 degrees F. Cold. Winter sucked. On a scale of 1 - 10: 9. Boo Minny!

This year? Winter started mid-December. However, it has been stupidly cold and we aren't getting typical warming periods between snowfalls, so the snow has just been accumulating. It's getting to the point where it's difficult for sedans to see oncoming traffic over mounds of plowed snow. On a scale of 1 - 10: 7 (so far). Boo Minny!

But it's hard to beat the quality of primary/secondary education here, and the health care is pretty good, too. The missus and I might decide to move to a less wintery clime after the kids are out of high school, though!

Re:Weather? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#46124493)

Not quite. As I've pointed out before, Southern California really does have four seasons: fire, flood, earthquake and riot.

Re:Weather? (1)

blindseer (891256) | about 8 months ago | (#46123139)

Good thing that California banned fires on the beach, can't be too careful. That sand could catch fire at any second.

Re:Weather? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 8 months ago | (#46123715)

Nah, it's just the State wanting to make sure you don't make and illegally sell some glass, without the FTB getting their cut...

Re:Weather? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46124155)

West coast best coast as usual. We have infinite sunshine AND In N Out.

Not in Washington we don't... "West coast" != "Southern California".

Re:Weather? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46124305)

West coast best coast as usual. We have infinite sunshine AND In N Out.

Not in Washington we don't... "West coast" != "Southern California".

What I said is still true.
There's over 600 miles of West coast that has infinite sunshine and an In N Out close by.
"West coast has" != "Every point along the West coast has".

Re:Weather? (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46124795)

What I said is still true.

Only in the mind of a Southern Californian, they're like Manhattanites in their narrow view of the world.

Re:Weather? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 8 months ago | (#46124533)

West coast best coast as usual. We have infinite sunshine AND In N Out.

Now you just have to learn to drink sea water and use it to irrigate crops and you're in business.

Re:Weather? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 9 months ago | (#46125675)

Heh, reminds me of a half-remembered joke, no doubt mangled:
When it's 110 in New York it's 85 in California.
When it's 10 below in New York, it's 85 in California.
And while there's a million interesting people in New York, there's 85 in California.

Re:Weather? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46123059)

In n Out is OK, but not some super burger as some people try to make it out to be. Definitely better than your average fast food burger, but on par with Steak n Shake.

Much better hamburgers out there.

That's nice... (0)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 8 months ago | (#46123223)

cough (SkyNET) cough

Remember when... (2)

blindseer (891256) | about 8 months ago | (#46123305)

There was a time when USA would launch satellites for other nations, now we off shore even that. What is NASA's mission now? I thought it was supposed to encourage domestic space exploration.

Oh, that's right, some White House talking head said NASA exists to make the descendents of the people that basically invented mathematics and science feel good. How about we have NASA inspire all Americans to seek knowledge? You know, like they used to do?

I don't want to sound like I'm tearing down everyone at NASA. I'm sure there are some very smart and motivated people there doing great work. The problem lies in the management. It seems the government does not know what to do with NASA any more. Any project that NASA gets seems to lose funding as soon as it gets even close to launching anything. That's the nature of a government driven by professional politicians that are more concerned about winning the next election than actually improving the lives of Americans.

I'm glad to see that this failure of NASA to lead us into space has resulted in private industry picking up where they left off. I predict we're going to see private space launches exceed anything NASA has been able to do real soon now. I predict the next person on the moon will be an American but the spacecraft will not bear the NASA emblem.

Re:Remember when... (4, Informative)

decsnake (6658) | about 8 months ago | (#46123515)

GPM is a joint mission with Japan. The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has provided the primary science instrument, the Dual frequency Precipitation Radar, and the launch vehicle. This is the same arrangement we had with Japan for GPM's predecessor, TRMM, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. Besides the primary goal of better understanding the processes that drive our planet's weather there is the secondary goal of fostering international scientific cooperation.

Please do not confuse launch services with space exploration. NASA hasn't directly been in the commercial launch service since the dawn of the space age was over. Commercial satellite operators contract directly with commercial launch providers such as ULA, Orbital, Space-X, Arianespace or ILS.

I am in complete agreement with your point about lack of political support for space science and exploration. While there has been no real support for space exploration for decades, the past decade has seen a real drop in actual support (that is, money) for space science. I suspect that is true for science in general, but space is my business.

Re:Remember when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46123777)

There was a time when USA would launch satellites for other nations, now we off shore even that. What is NASA's mission now? I thought it was supposed to encourage domestic space exploration.

It is not like NASA didn't launch its own couple science observing satellites last year for the Earth, Sun, and Moon, and NASA has been performing about 25% of the orbital launches in the world every year for the last ten years at least. Unless you think NASA should be the only one making launches, other nations will be making useful and newsworthy launches of their own regardless of what NASA does.

Re:Remember when... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 8 months ago | (#46123779)

There was a time when USA would launch satellites for other nations, now we off shore even that. What is NASA's mission now? I thought it was supposed to encourage domestic space exploration.

Oh, that's right, some White House talking head said NASA exists to make the descendents of the people that basically invented mathematics and science feel good.

Which is even a wrong goal, given that mathematics and science [wikipedia.org] existed for more than 1000 years before those other folks...

Re:Remember when... (5, Informative)

pdscomp (637112) | about 8 months ago | (#46123821)

In this case, NASA isn't 'out-sourcing' the GPM launch to Japan... GPM and its predecessor the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission–TRMM were both full collaborations between NASA and the Japanese Space Agency JAXA. In both cases, Goddard Space Flight Center (where I work) integrated the spacecraft and its payloads, with JAXA (formerly NASDA) providing payload(s) as well as launch services.
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