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When a Falcon 9 rocket takes off from California’s Vandenberg Space Force base Thursday, it will carry a satellite that represents almost two decades of UNC-Chapel Hill hydrologist Tamlin Pavelsky’s work. The satellite will measure the height of water’s surface in lakes, rivers and oceans across the globe while also using radar to detect where water is located.

Pavelsky is the United States’ hydrological science lead for the project, which is called the Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission, or SWOT.

The News & Observer