Rocket blasts off with NASA satellite to track climate change 搭載NASA衛星的火箭升空,以追蹤氣候變遷

An unmanned Delta 2 rocket lifted off from California on Saturday carrying a NASA satellite to measure how much water is in Earth’s soil, information that will help weather forecasting and tracking of global climate change.


The tiny amount of soil moisture links the planet’s overall environmental systems – its water, energy and carbon cycles - as well as determines whether particular regions are afflicted with drought or flooding.


" It’s the metabolism of the system," NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive SMAP observatory lead scientist Dara Entekhabi said.


Perched on top on the rocket was NASA’s 950 kg SMAP, which will spend at least three years measuring the amount of water in the top 2 inches of Earth’s soil.


Overall, soil moisture accounts for less than 1 percent of the planet’s total water reservoir, with 97 percent in the planet’s oceans and nearly all of the rest locked in ice, said Entekhabi.


Currently, scientists rely largely on computer models to account for soil moisture. But from its orbital perch 685 km above Earth, SMAP has two microwave instruments to collect actual soil moisture measurements everywhere on Earth and update the measurements every two-to three days. Reuters



blast off:片語,發射、升空。例句:The rocket will blast off in a few moments.(火箭即將發射升空。)

afflict:動詞,使苦惱、折磨。例句:Unemployment afflicts 1.2 million workers in that country.(那個國家的120萬勞工深受失業之苦。)

account for:片語,做出說明、做出解釋。例句:That accounts for it.(原來是這麼一回事。)

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