NASA satellite will make weather forecasts clearer

NPP Satellite before lauch

NASA is famous for their innovations. In their early years, much of the work they did was groundbreaking. Hell, they put a human on the moon without a TARDIS. Recently, however, they’ve been taking some budget hits, and no longer control manned launches from US soil.

But that doesn’t mean they’re behind the times. They still deal with very expensive and sensitive electronics, and they put them on the Atlas V rocket. That’s a 737,400 pound, 2-stage, 5-booster rocket. Try getting your computer to work after that, then put it in space and see how well it reacts to radiation. Well, not content to show your iPhone how much of a sissy it is, they’re preparing a satellite whose purpose is to collect data on fog so that your cell phone can give you accurate information on where the fog is, a traditionally difficult dataset to collect.

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project, or NPP for short, is part of a larger project to tie older Earth Observation System (EOS) satellites, which are used to collect weather data, with the next generation of climate observing satellites, dubbed Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). The data collected will be used to understand – in greater detail – what actually goes on with the weather above our beloved rock. The five-instrument system aboard the NPP is the first to collect data across such a wide range of categories; land, ocean and atmospheric data collection all while assisting in forecasting technology.

What does that mean to you? Well, in a few years (it just launched last Friday, for crying out loud) the data will be used to send real-time weather information to your smartphone, so you know if the heavy fog ends in a half mile, or if you should pull over and wait it out. It could also assist in tracking large storms, which could help save lives in places like Joplin, Missouri where tornadoes killed 160 people.

Sources:, NASA

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