Soil Moisture Active Passive
Artist rendition of SMAP
|Mission duration||3 years|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||NET December 2014|
|Rocket||Delta II 7320-10C|
|Launch site||Vandenberg SLC-2W|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|Perigee||660 kilometres (410 mi)|
|Apogee||685 kilometres (426 mi)|
Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) is an American environmental research satellite. Part of the first tier of missions recommended for NASA by the Earth Science Decadal Survey, it is scheduled for launch in October 2014. It is one of the first Earth observation satellites being developed by NASA in response to the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey.
SMAP will provide measurements of the land surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state with near-global revisit coverage in 2–3 days. SMAP surface measurements will be coupled with hydrologic models to infer soil moisture conditions in the root zone. These measurements will enable science applications users to:
- Understand processes that link the terrestrial water, energy, and carbon cycles.
- Estimate global water and energy fluxes at the land surface.
- Quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes.
- Enhance weather and climate forecast skill.
- Develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring capability.
SMAP observations will be acquired for a period of at least three years after launch. A comprehensive validation, science, and applications program will be implemented, and all data will be made available publicly through the NASA archive centers.
The SMAP observatory includes a dedicated spacecraft and instrument suite that will be launched into a near-polar, sun-synchronous orbit on an expendable launch vehicle.
The active and passive sensors provide coincident measurements of the surface emission and backscatter. The instruments sense conditions in the top 5 cm of soil through moderate vegetation cover to yield globally mapped estimates of soil moisture and its freeze-thaw state. The combined active and passive measurement approach takes advantage of the spatial resolution of the radar and the sensing accuracy of the radiometer.
The radar and radiometer share a single feed and deployable 6m AstroMesh reflector antenna system, supplied by Astro Aerospace in Carpinteria CA, that rotates around the nadir axis making conical scans of the surface. The wide swath provides near-global revisit 2–3 days.
SMAP is a directed mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA with a target launch date in November 2014. The SMAP project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL, with participation by the Goddard Space Flight Center GSFC. SMAP builds on the heritage and risk reduction activities of NASA's ESSP Hydros Mission.
Science and applications
SMAP observations will be used to characterize hydrologic and ecosystem processes including land-atmosphere exchanges of water, energy, and carbon. SMAP soil moisture and freeze-thaw information will directly benefit several societal applications areas, including:
Weather and climate forecasting
Initialization of numerical weather prediction models and seasonal climate models with accurate soil moisture information will extend forecast lead times and enhance prediction skill.
SMAP soil moisture information will improve the monitoring and forecasting of drought conditions, enabling new capabilities for mitigating drought impacts.
Floods and landslides
Hydrologic forecast systems calibrated and initialized with high-resolution soil moisture fields will lead to improved flood forecasts and will provide essential information on the potential for landslides.
Improved seasonal soil moisture forecasts will directly benefit famine early warning systems. Benefits will also be realized through improved predictions of heat stress and virus spread rates, and improved disaster preparation and response.
- Ray, Justin. "NASA gives the Delta 2 rocket a new lease on life". SpaceFlightNow. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
- "Decadal Survey". NASA.
- "SMAP : Status". NASA. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
- O'Neill, Peggy; Entekhabi, Dara; Njoku, Eni; Kellogg, Kent. "The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission: Overview". NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
- Stéphane Bélair1, Ralph Girard, and Thomas Piekutowski, Science Plan and Possible Canadian Contributions to the Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) Mission, Microwave Remote Sensing for Land Hydrology Research and Applications was held on October 20-22, 2008, in Oxnard, California, USA
Quote: "As SMAP was emerging from the ashes of HYDROS in 2007, CSA exchanged with NASA on the possibility of renewing their partnership. CSA, in collaboration with other Canadian Government Departments, is currently developing plans regarding possible scientific and technical contributions to the new mission. The scientific activities would include both government and academic partners."
- NASA/JPL Soil Moisture Active-Passive Project Web Site
- NASA/JPL Global Climate Change web site
- NASA's New Studies of Earth's Seas, Skies and Soils