NASA Soil Moisture Radar Ends Operations, Mission Science Continues

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Continues NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) (Artist Concept) A three-day combination tellurian map of aspect dirt dampness as retrieved from SMAP's radiometer instrument NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) goal will furnish high-resolution tellurian maps of dirt dampness to lane H2O accessibility around a world and beam process decisions.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Continues
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) (Artist Concept)
A three-day combination tellurian map of aspect dirt dampness as retrieved from SMAP’s radiometer instrument
NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) goal will furnish high-resolution tellurian maps of dirt dampness to lane H2O accessibility around a world and beam process decisions.Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mission managers for NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) look-out have dynamic that a radar, one of a satellite’s dual scholarship instruments, can no longer lapse data. However, a mission, that was launched in Jan to map tellurian dirt dampness and detect either soils are solidified or thawed, continues to furnish high-quality scholarship measurements ancillary SMAP’s objectives with a radiometer instrument.

The SMAP goal is designed to assistance scientists know a links between Earth’s water, appetite and CO cycles and raise a ability to guard and envision healthy hazards like floods and droughts. SMAP stays an critical information source to assist Earth element displaying and studies. SMAP information have additional unsentimental applications, including softened continue forecasting and stand furnish predictions.

The SMAP booster continues normal operations, and a initial information recover of dirt dampness products is approaching in late September.

“Although some of a designed applications of SMAP information will be impacted by a detriment of a radar, a SMAP goal will continue to furnish profitable scholarship for critical Earth element studies,” pronounced Dara Entekhabi, SMAP Science Team lead during a Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

On Jul 7, SMAP’s radar stopped transmitting due to an curiosity involving a radar’s high-power amplifier (HPA). The HPA is designed to boost a appetite turn of a radar’s beat to some-more than 500 watts, ensuring a appetite sparse from Earth’s aspect can be accurately measured.

The SMAP devise during NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shaped an curiosity group to examine a HPA emanate and establish either normal operation could be recovered. A array of evidence tests and procedures was achieved on both a booster and on a belligerent regulating moody gangling parts.

Following an catastrophic try on Aug. 24 to appetite adult a radar unit, a devise had tired all identified probable options for recuperating favoured operation of a HPA and resolved a radar is expected not recoverable.

NASA has allocated a fumble examination house to control a extensive examination of a resources that led to a HPA curiosity in sequence to establish how a curiosity occurred and how such events can be prevented on destiny missions. JPL also will assemble a apart disaster examination house that will work with a NASA investigation.

SMAP was launched Jan. 31 and began a scholarship goal in April, releasing a initial tellurian maps of dirt dampness on Apr 21. To date, a goal has collected some-more than 4 months of scholarship data, roughly 3 months with a radar operating. SMAP scientists devise to recover beta-quality dirt dampness information products during a finish of September, with certified information designed for recover in Apr 2016.

SMAP’s radar authorised a mission’s dirt dampness and freeze-thaw measurements to be resolved to smaller regions of Earth — about 5.6 miles (9 kilometers) for dirt dampness and 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) for freeze-thaw. Without a radar, a mission’s solution appetite will be singular to regions of roughly 25 miles (40 kilometers) for dirt dampness and freeze-thaw. The goal will continue to accommodate a mandate for dirt dampness correctness and will furnish tellurian dirt dampness maps any dual to 3 days.

SMAP’s active radar and pacifist radiometer instruments are designed to element any other and lessen a stipulations of any dimensions alone. The radar enabled high-resolution measurements of adult to 1.9 miles, though with reduce correctness for intuiting aspect dirt moisture. In contrast, a x-ray radiometer is some-more accurate in a measurements, though has reduce fortitude of about 25 miles. By mixing a active and pacifist measurements, SMAP was designed to guess dirt dampness during a fortitude of about 5.6 miles.

The scarcely 3 months of concurrent measurements by a dual instruments are a initial of their kind. The total information set allows scientists to consider a advantage of this form of total dimensions proceed for destiny missions. Scientists now are building algorithms to furnish a freeze-thaw information product during 25-mile fortitude from a radiometer data. They also are evaluating either a 25-mile radiometer dirt dampness fortitude can be improved.

Based on a accessible SMAP goal data, scientists have identified other useful scholarship measurements that can be subsequent from a radiometer data, such as sea aspect salinity and high winds over a sea surface. Over a subsequent several months, a SMAP devise and NASA will work to establish how to exercise these new measurements into a project’s information products.

SMAP is managed for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington by JPL, with instrument hardware and scholarship contributions done by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. JPL built a booster and is obliged for devise management, element engineering, radar instrumentation, goal operations and a belligerent information system. Goddard is obliged for a radiometer instrument and scholarship information products.

Source: JPL