NASA launched its latest observatory called Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) on January 31 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to scientists, the observatory’s mission is to monitor the earth’s energy, water and carbon system, a mission which will last for three years.
NASA’s SMAP observatory will be in charge of monitoring the first two inches of soil, the clouds and the vegetation, among other things.
The observatory will also study the agricultural growing season and how much carbon the plants remove from the Earth’s atmosphere.
Every three days, the observatory will provide new data sets from all the equatorial regions, and every two days it will show data regarding the higher latitudes.
Michael Freilich, the Director of the Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, explained that SMAP will be in charge of providing measurements about our planet’s environment.
The SMAP observatory will be engaged in several missions, and each of these missions will be measuring important variables that affect the environment of our planet. By combining and analyzing the data from all the missions, the scientists will be able to better comprehend how the earth’s system functions.
When researchers will combine the data gathered by NASA’s SMAP observatory with data from other satellites, the scientists will have a better understanding the ways water reacts and where it goes when it reaches earth.
Also, the data will provide relevant information on how the weather and climate systems work, and what to expect from it.
Researchers at the Earth Observation Resources directory explained that the missions of the SMAP observatory will allow scientists to predict weather and other climate forecasting, such as floods, droughts. Also, SMAP will provide details on any improvement in agricultural productivity.
Although SMAP’s missions will last three years, once the scientists understand the cycles and the processes, they can apply the data gathered by NASA’s observatory for many years after.
The team of scientists involved in the SMAP mission will be testing the systems for the next 3 months.
Simon Yueh, one of the scientists involved in the SMAP project, said that SMAP will help improve our daily lives.
Image Source: cbc