World - NASA, ESA Are Preparing to Launch the Largest Earth-Observing Satellite Ever

The spacecraft has an unmatched vantage point on rising sea levels.

THE WORLD'S LARGEST EARTH-OBSERVING satellite is getting ready for liftoff.

On November 21, the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA will launch the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft into Earth's orbit where it will keep a watchful eye on a dangerous side effect of climate change — rising sea levels.

Viewing the Earth from space, it has an unparalleled view of this deadly trend on a global scale — and could help us here on Earth tackle it.

As global temperatures rise, melting glaciers and ice sheets have combined with the thermal expansion of seawater to increase sea levels at an alarming rate. Since 1880, global mean sea level has risen about 8–9 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"People have been interested in measuring sea level, they’ve been using dip sticks essentially in the years since ships were out on the ocean and people were curious what’s happening living close to the ocean," Parag Vaze, a NASA Earth project manager for the Sentinel-6 mission, said during a teleconference on Tuesday.

"But that is a difficult process to really understand what’s happening precisely across the world."

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