NASA develops instrument to measure moisture on Earth’s Soil

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have developed an instrument that is capable to measure moisture on Earth’s Soil with unquestionable accuracy.

Soil moisture nasaThe instrument is named ‘Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)’ and it will be launched on January 29, 2015. This is the fifth NASA Earth Science Mission launched within the last 12 months.

This remote sensing instrument in space has three main parts; a powerful radiometer, a radar and the largest rotating mesh antenna ever deployed in space.

The dish used in this instrument is 19.7 feet in diameter. The sensor in the instrument will help us to procure the most accurate measurement of Earth’s soil moisture.

The moisture in the Earth’s soil plays a crucial role in determining changes in environment, and understanding it in the most accurate manner will surely fetch benign benefits.

Wendy Edelstein, the instrument manager of ‘Soil Moisture Active Passive’ said that launch of instrument demands careful engineering. Edelstein said that the team should ensure that the mesh doesn’t hang up on the supports and tear when it’s deploying. He also added that they have a very stable and robust system now.

The radar in the ‘Soil Moisture Active Passive’ makes use of the antenna to transmit microwaves towards the earth, and receive the signals which will bounce back.

Changes which happen in the electrical properties of the returning microwaves indicate variations in soil moisture. It will also tell us whether the soil is frozen or not.

With the help of Synthetic aperture radar processing, the radar is capable to produce Ultra Sharp images with a resolution of one to three kilometers.