Greetings from NASA and the SMAP satellite mission!
As you know, The GLOBE Program has a collaboration with the NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission. As part of this collaboration, we have developed the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol, that allows for the collection of volumetric soil moisture measurements, just like the measurements we get from the SMAP satellite. Students from many countries have already begun taking soil moisture measurements using the SMAP protocol.
What you may have not heard is that one of the soil moisture measuring instruments, the active radar, has stopped working on the SMAP satellite. SMAP's radar allowed the mission's soil moisture and freeze-thaw measurements to resolve smaller regions of Earth -- about 9 kilometers for soil moisture and 3 kilometers for freeze-thaw. Without the radar, the mission's resolving power will be limited to almost 40 kilometers for soil moisture and freeze-thaw. The mission will continue to meet its requirements for soil moisture accuracy and will produce global soil moisture maps every two to three days.
The loss of the radar instrument increases the need for in situ (on the ground) soil moisture measurements by GLOBE students. Soil moisture data collection by ten or more schools within a 20 kilometer radius is particularly desirable.
For this effort, I am formally announcing the SMAP Soil Moisture Data Collection Field Campaign. This campaign will begin on 1 October 2015. This campaign will focus on having students take measurements using the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol, interactions with NASA scientists, and global recognition to the top 3 collecting schools and countries each month during a live webinar.
Please join us on Thursday, 17 September 2015 at either 12:00pm Eastern Time or 7:00pm Eastern Time, for the first SMAP-GLOBE webinar by Dr. Erika Podest, SMAP scientist, and myself, Brian Campbell, SMAP Education Liaison. This webinar will link the upcoming Kilimanjaro Learning Xpedition to the upcoming SMAP data collection campaign.
To learn more about the webinar and how to participate, click HERE!