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Satellite Launch Watch Party

Updated: Thursday, February 27 2014, 06:24 PM EST

Students and faculty at UNC Asheville were glued to the TV Thursday watching a NASA satellite launch out of Japan. That's because there's a strong local tie to the project that was seven years in the making.

The job of the Global Precipitation Measurement or GPM satellite is to observe precipitation levels around the world. That includes data from rain gauges throughout the Pigeon River Basin here in Western North Carolina.

UNC Asheville teamed-up with Duke University to set-up those gauges starting in 2007. This was a big moment for them.

"What's really interesting and exciting is that its not just Duke University and UNCA that are excited about it. There are scientists all over the world who have invested something related to their own personal research in making this project happen," said Dr. Douglas Miller, atmospheric sciences professor.

Dr. Miller says the incredible amount of rain we got during Hurricanes Ivan and Hurricane Frances back in 2004 caught NASA's attention enough to secure the research grant for the Pigeon River Basin project.

Satellite Launch Watch Party


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