While everyone else is commuting home from work today, a NASA rocket will be making another, longer, trip–taking the agency’s newest weather satellite into space! After the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P (GOES-P) journeys to its orbit 22,000 miles above Earth’s surface, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will use the data it gathers to support scientists’ work. Though satellites have been around for a while, newer satellite technology like this will undoubtedly play more of a role as climate change alters environmental conditions.

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NASA’s weather satellites serve a crucial role in monitoring storm development and weather patterns, and the GOES-P, which will be named GOES-15 once it’s fully operational, will be no different. The newest satellite technology will collect and beam data back to Earth so scientists can forecast storm and weather patterns, monitor land and ocean temperatures, study changing space conditions, relay communications and even provide search-and-rescue support.

Scientists predict that if carbon emissions and global temperatures continue to rise, storms may become stronger and weather more volatile. Satellites can aid scientists in predicting natural disasters and inclement weather before they wreak too much havoc.

Via TerraDaily