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Notes from the Field

PALS to Grand Junction

May 18th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Friday April 27 the PALS instrument was packed up by Barron and Seth and shipped by truck to Grand Junction, Colorado to be installed on the Twin Otter aircraft assigned to the SMAPVEX12 campaign. This is the first leg of the PALS journey to Winnipeg, the site of the field campaign.

Moving van arrived at the Twin Otter facility

Monday April 30 Seth and William Chun arrived in Grand Junction to meet the moving van and direct unloading. The Twin Otter aircraft N821AR was waiting with tundra tires and larger brakes installed. The PALS racks were placed in the aircraft and cabling and verification began. Seth met our pilot, Richard Webb.

Twitter Otter Aircraft

May 16-18 Instrument checkout and flight readiness reviews complete. Test flights underway with PALS on board. Aircraft take-offs, landings, practice maneuvers. Flight to Lake Powell.

For the full blog, visit SMAP Blogs from the Field


May 15th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

SMAPVEX12 stands for the 2012 Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Validation Experiment.

The SMAP mission…

SMAP is a NASA Earth science satellite mission that uses microwave radar and radiometer instruments to measure soil moisture from space. The radar and radiometer share a six-meter mesh reflector antenna that rotates at approximately 14 revolutions per minute. The instrument system is mounted on a dedicated spacecraft that will be launched into space in October 2014 if all goes well, and will orbit the Earth approximately every 90 minutes at a height of 685 km above the Earth’s surface. The instruments will measure the microwave radiation emitted and scattered from the land surface, and will transmit the measured data down to Earth where the data will be converted into global maps of soil moisture. The maps will also show whether the moisture in the soil is liquid or frozen at any given time.

SMAP satellite
Artist rendition on SMAP satellite

Why is soil moisture information needed…?

Visit the SMAP Blogs from the Field  to read more.

SMAPVEX12 Field Campaign-Winnipeg

May 15th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

During the next few weeks we’ll be writing a series of short articles or “blogs” bringing you news of the SMAPVEX12 field campaign taking place in Winnipeg, Canada this summer. Along the way we’ll be providing you with a view of what SMAPVEX12 is, when, where and why it’s happening, and we’ll introduce you to some of the people who are helping run the field campaign and are vital to making it work (both on the ground and in the air).

SMAP satellite

We’ll relate highlights of events as they take place every few days, digressing now and then to explain interesting details. Our hope is to provide plenty of photos to make the experience more real. Scientists taking part in the campaign may find time to share their experiences too. That way you’ll be guaranteed to get a more complete (and varied) set of impressions!

Since there won’t be enough space in these articles to explain everything you might like to know, there is an email address where you can send questions. At the beginning of each article we’ll try and answer some of the questions received.

To view the full blog on the SMAP Website visit SMAP Blogs from the Field.

All the best,
Eni Njoku
SMAP Project Scientist