|Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite
This artist's concept shows the Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, Earth satellite measuring terrestrial soil moisture from space. SMAP is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in November 2014. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, scheduled to launch in January 2015, is an Earth satellite mission to measure and map Earth's soil moisture and freeze/thaw state to better understand terrestrial water, carbon and energy cycles.
Using an advanced radar and radiometer, the satellite will be able to peer beneath clouds, vegetation and other surface features to monitor water and energy fluxes, helping improve flood predictions and drought monitoring. Data from the three-year mission will also play a crucial role in understanding changes in water availability, food production and other societal impacts of climate change.