Wednesday, 31 December 2014

NASA's Developed Instrument To Measure Moisture In Earth's Soil............

NASA has developed a new type of instrument, called 'Soil Moisture Active Passive' aka SMAP that can accurately measure the moisture content in Earth's soil. Ready for its prime launch on January 29, the SMAP has a radar along with a radiometer and one of the largest rotating mesh antenna to be ever deployed in the space. Once it begins operations, it will be able to accurately measure the moisture content with awesome accuracy and resolution. 

The remote sensing instruments can be of active type - that is when they emit their own signals or passive type - when they receive and record signals. The SMAP is equipped with sensor of each type to make the most accurate measurements ever. What's the big deal about measuring Earth's moisture content, you may ask. Well, this tiny fraction of water has huge effect on weather conditions and also the agriculture.

The SMAP has been developed by the talented engineers at the NASA JPL in California. The system's 19.7 ft antenna is the largest ever to be deployed in space. JPL's Wendy Edelstein says the team calls it 'The Spinning Lasso'. The antenna spins around the arm at about 14 rpm. Deploying this in space involved lot of careful engineering as all of the antenna had to be enclosed in space not bigger than a tall kitchen trash can for the launch and then accurately deploy it in the space.
The radiometer will detect the differences in Earth's natural microwave emissions, caused by water in soil. We'd encourage you to find out more about this interesting project on NASA's official SMAP website, linked in source below.