Scientists should soon have an easier time studying rising sea levels as climate change takes hold. NASA and the ESA have partnered with SpaceX to launch the Sentinel 6 Michael Freilich ocean tracking satellite. The spacecraft will gauge sea levels worldwide and not only continue an unbroken 28-year record of ocean monitoring, but do so at extreme detail — down to the centimeter (0.4in) for over 90 percent of Earth oceans.
The satellite should also improve weather forecasts and help ships navigate by tracking worldwide ocean currents. It’s named after the late former director of NASA’s Earth Science Division, a champion of Earth science and ocean studies.