Soil moisture satellite launched

SMAP observatory before blasting off into space.

NASA launched the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory on February 2 that is designed to collect global observations of the vital soil moisture that is right underneath our feet. The rocket successfully made it into space and made connections with ground controllers and deployed its solar arrays. It is scheduled to be a three year mission that will give us information to expand our understanding of the key component that links the water, energy, and carbon cycles driving our living planet. The observatory will give us the most accurate soil moisture maps ever obtained from space that will help improve climate and weather forecasts and give information that can help save lives and property. It will be able to see drought and predict floods from excess rainfall. Charles Bolden stated that “The launch of SMAP completes an ambitious 11-month period for NASA that has seen the launch of five new Earth-observing space missions to help us better understand our changing planet.” From these new missions, scientists hope to make life easier with better forecast warnings and for a better understanding of how the worlds system works.

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