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NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission FormulationThe Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission is one of the first Earth observation satellites being formulated by NASA in response to the 2007 National Research Council s Earth Science Decadal Survey [1]. SMAP s measurement objectives are high-resolution global measurements of near-surface soil moisture and its freeze-thaw state. These measurements would allow significantly improved estimates of water, energy and carbon transfers between the land and atmosphere. The soil moisture control of these fluxes is a key factor in the performance of atmospheric models used for weather forecasts and climate projections. Soil moisture measurements are also of great importance in assessing flooding and monitoring drought. Knowledge gained from SMAP s planned observations can help mitigate these natural hazards, resulting in potentially great economic and societal benefits. SMAP measurements would also yield high resolution spatial and temporal mapping of the frozen or thawed condition of the surface soil and vegetation. Observations of soil moisture and freeze/thaw timing over the boreal latitudes will contribute to reducing a major uncertainty in quantifying the global carbon balance and help resolve an apparent missing carbon sink over land. The SMAP mission would utilize an L-band radar and radiometer sharing a rotating 6-meter mesh reflector antenna (see Figure 1) [2]. The radar and radiometer instruments would be carried onboard a 3-axis stabilized spacecraft in a 680 km polar orbit with an 8-day repeating ground track. The instruments are planned to provide high-resolution and high-accuracy global maps of soil moisture at 10 km resolution and freeze/thaw at 3 km resolution, every two to three days (see Table 1 for a list of science data products). The mission is adopting a number of approaches to identify and mitigate potential terrestrial radio frequency interference (RFI). These approaches are being incorporated into the radiometer and radar flight hardware and ground processing designs.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Entekhabi, Dara
(Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Njoku, Eni
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
ONeill, Peggy
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Kellogg, Kent
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Entin, Jared
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
2011 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium(Vancouver)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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