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Satellite launched to map the world’s oceans, lakes, rivers

A U.S.-French satellite that will map almost all of the world’s surface water has rocketed into orbit. The predawn launch Friday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California capped a highly successful year for NASA. The satellite will conduct the first global survey of its kind. Besides oceans and seas, it will measure the height and flow of water in millions of lakes and more than 1 million miles of rivers. Scientists say the measurements are needed more than ever as climate change worsens droughts, flooding and coastal erosion. Cheers erupted at control centers in California and France as the spacecraft started its mission.

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