Jun 9, 2011 12:22 AM by Ariel Wesler

Vandenberg delays launch of Aquarius satellite

Vandenberg's latest launch has been delayed until Friday. The Aquarius satellite was set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base tomorrow morning at 7:20. It has been delayed until Friday concerns about steering the rocket through high winds in the upper atmosphere. The satellite will be NASA's first attempt to measure the amount of salt in the ocean from space.

We all know salt makes food tastier, but it also plays an important role in earth's climate and can affect our weather patterns.

NASA scientists say the Aquarius satellite will provide the first global observations of salt patterns. The satellite will cover the Earth's surface once every seven days and map out ocean salt levels weekly. Scientists hope to use the data to better predict future climate change.

"If you take a pinch of salt and put it into a gallon of water, that is the sensitivity we can measure from 408 miles above the Earth," said Amit Sen, Aquarius Project Manager.

The Aquarius mission is designed to last about three years. NASA says within just a few months, aquarius will collect as much data about salt levels as the entire 125-year historical record from ships and buoys.

Researchers have had satellites to measure ocean temperature, winds, ocean color, and currents. They say this is just another important piece of the puzzle to understand and better predict future climate trends.

So, how much does this all cost? Well, the entire mission along with help from the international community costs $400 million. NASA's portion cost about $287 million.


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