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2014 News in Brief



New SMAP Satellite Makes Measuring Soil Moisture a Snap

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Scientists will soon gain new insights into how the Earth system’s three major cycles – energy, water and carbon – are linked over global land regions. NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission, scheduled to launch January 29, 2015, will use microwave instruments to measure the water content of the planet’s soil. Professor Dara Entekhabi, the SMAP team leader, explains that the radar and radiometer instruments on board are designed to produce maps of global soil moisture with unprecedented accuracy and resolution. He notes that data will be downlinked, processed, updated and available to the public on a daily basis. Read an interview with Entekhabi: