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NASA's new satellite set to track hidden water, moisture in Earth's soil

NASA's new SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite is set to map hidden water and moisture under in the Earth's soil, it has been reported.


NASA's new satellite set to track hidden water, moisture in Earth's soil

Washington: NASA's new SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite is set to map hidden water and moisture under in the Earth's soil, it has been reported.

Data from SMAP will be used to enhance understanding of processes that link the water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models including improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capabilities.

A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth's soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate was in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California.

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will take the pulse of a key measure of our water planet: how freshwater cycles over Earth's land surfaces in the form of soil moisture. The mission will produce the most accurate, highest-resolution global maps ever obtained from space of the moisture present in the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of Earth's soils.

It also will detect and map whether the ground is frozen or thawed. This data will be used to enhance scientists' understanding of the processes that link Earth's water , energy and carbon cycles.

Globally, the volume of soil moisture varies between three and five percent in desert and arid regions, to between 40 and 50 percent in saturatedsoils. In general, the amount depends on such factors as precipitation patterns, topography, vegetation cover and soil composition.

There are not enough sensors in the ground to map the variability in global soil moisture at the level of detail needed by scientists and decision makers. From space, SMAP will produce global maps with 6-mile (10-kilometer) resolution every two to three days.

SMAP will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket and maneuver into a 426-mile (685-kilometer) altitude, near-polar orbit that repeats exactly every eight days. The mission has been designed to operate at least three years.

From Zee News

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