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Have you ever wondered how the SMAP satellite, with an altitude of 685 km (425 miles) above the Earth, can take measurements as precise as the amount of water in the Earth's soil? The quick answer is that it requires precisely calibrated instruments, along with a technological marvel in satellite design. SMAP was designed to use a combination of two precise instruments, one with high resolution, one with high accuracy. THE INSTRUMENTS: Active (High Resolution): SMAP’s radar was designed accurately measure the echoes of very short radio frequency (RF) pulses that bounce...


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math Technology Field Campaigns: SMAP GLOBE Science Topics: Earth System Science Investigation Areas: Pedosphere (Soil) Primary Audience: Alumni Country Coordinators Partners Scientists Students Teachers Trainers

The SMAP Mission is vital to understanding our planet. Water is an essential source for life. By understanding the amount of water in the soil, or soil moisture, we can apply this information to many things. Monitoring Drought SMAP monitors soil moisture and provides critical information for drought early warning. In fact, a deficit in the amount of moisture in the soil defines agricultural drought. SMAP's measurements will come into play because researchers forecast a threefold increase in drought frequency in many regions of the world by the end of the 21st Century. History...


Posted in: Field Campaigns: SMAP GLOBE Science Topics: GLOBE Protocols Investigation Areas: Pedosphere (Soil) Primary Audience: Country Coordinators Partners Students Teachers Trainers

Weekly Report 1: 10/1/15 - 10/15/15 This report contains two weeks of data collection due to the beginning of the campaign on October 1, 2015: Volumetric Soil Moisture Measurements = 19 Participating Sites = 4 Schools Submitting Data: Shumate Middle School - Michigan - 8 data counts Ramey School - Puerto Rico -7 data counts The University of Toledo -Ohio - 2 data counts Thomas Edison Energy/Smart Charter School - New Jersey - 2 data counts Congratulations to those schools for getting a great start. Let's get more schools participating! Brian


Posted in: Curriculum: Science and Math Field Campaigns: SMAP GLOBE Science Topics: GLOBE Protocols General News Topics: Competitions Investigation Areas: Pedosphere (Soil) Primary Audience: Country Coordinators Partners Students Teachers Trainers

Many of you contributed data during the GPM-GLOBE Precipitation Field Campaign earlier this year.  Here's an opportunity to learn about an upcoming scientific field campaign, upon which our student field campaign was modeled.  The Olympic Mountain Experiment, or OLYMPEX, is a NASA-led field campaign, which will take place on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State from November 2015 through February 2016. The goal of the campaign is to collect detailed atmospheric measurements that will be used to evaluate how well rain-observing satellites measure rainfall and snowfall...


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And so last time we wondered whether Jayme would reach the summit... read her account below, to find out. September 29, 2015 With very little sleep at Kosovo camp, we bundled on our layers and tried to eat some breakfast on September 29, 2015. After making sure we had plenty of water, we began our daunting task up the volcanic scree. The guides led us up a path with many switchbacks, but it did not help us with the lower oxygen we were getting with each breathe. As the clouds rolled in, the Omani team was frequently asking for breaks. The guides would find a spot with larger...


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Greetings from NASA and the SMAP Mission! The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Mission is an orbiting observatory that measures the amount of water in the top 5 cm (2 inches) of soil everywhere on Earth’s surface will soon be placed in a polar orbit around Earth. The topsoil layer is the one in which the food we eat grows and where other vegetation lives. Moisture in the soil indirectly affects us in a variety of ways. In the course of its observations, SMAP will also determine if the ground is frozen or thawed in colder areas of the world. SMAP is designed to measure soil...


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GLOBE Teachers and Students, The GLOBE/SMAP Soil Moisture Measurement Field Campaign has begun!   To support this effort, the SMAP satellite mission invites GLOBE schools to participate in the 7-month-long soil moisture measurement campaign. Students will take soil moisture measurements following the GLOBE SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture (Volumetric) Protocol and input this data into GLOBE.  Once the data is input, other GLOBE schools and SMAP scientists can view the student-collected data, through the GLOBE visualization tool, and compare it to the SMAP satellite data....


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As I did not summit, I asked a GLOBE teacher and volcanologist (and no, she does not have ears like Dr. Spock from Star Trek!) Jayme Margolin-Sneider who did, to share her experience and that of the group that did summit.  As some background, Jayme completed her undergraduate degree at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA and Auckland University, New Zealand.  She then completed some research as a Fulbright Scholar at Hokkaido University, Japan (Seismic Volcanology Research).  Her graduate work was completed at New Mexico Tech, with a...


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Our final day was an easy hike down from the Mweka camp to a village at 1400 m.  We had a final glance of the mountain at one point as we descended.  It looked beautiful with its fresh covering of snow. Kilimanjaro, with a fresh coat of snow, as seen from our final descent.   We were definitely in the rain forest biome again and the lush forest surrounded us as on our first day. We also saw the elephant trunk flower, ( Impatiens kilimanjarii ), a semi-official logo of the mountain.    Elephant trunk flower found along the side of the trail ...


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For group 1, the science group, the descent was more gradual.  But for group 2, the big descent would be today. They would summit and descend most of the mountain on this day.   While waiting to leave Millenium camp, we collected data using GLOBE protocols.  Following this we had a rousing chorus of African songs, and we were all invited to join in. The group was in great spirits as we began our relatively short and all downhill hike.  We also passed a few other hikers as we walked -- this was an encouraging sign.  We were still in the moorland biome and...


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After another cold night on the mountain (it was two degrees Celsius inside the tents) we awoke to a wonderful sight... Mt. Meru in a sea of clouds.   Mt. Meru, Tanzania's second highest mountain, in a sea of clouds as seen from Karanga Camp. Incredible view so early in the morning and a great way to begin our day.  The hike today would be a short three hours, so after a hearty breakfast we headed to Millenium camp.  The terrain was very much the same, but we did see obsidian rocks (formed when the lava from a...


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GIO Director, Tony Murphy, taking water temperature in stream near Baranco camp early in the morning.  Temperature was 5C. Karanga camp, which is 10 m below Baranco camp is home for Monday night.  What an adventurous day we had getting there!  We began our morning taking soil moisture measurements for the SMAP campaign.  Mark Brettenny, GLOBE Africa Regional Officer, checking on a soil moisture probe before students take measurements. Then we hiked the 'wall.' As we left camp, it was full with a human train -- lots of hikers, guides and...


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Greetings from NASA and the SMAP Mission! The SMAP Soil Moisture Measurement Field Campaign begins in 3 days. The NASA SMAP satellite mission wants your soil moisture data. Click HERE for more information.  


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Measuring water temperature. After breakfast we split into the two groups.  Mark Brettenny of GLOBE Africa's Regional Office and I, stayed with group 1 to focus more on science.  Our next camp site is Baranco camp, 3940m, so a lower elevation than Lava Tower and set in a magnificent glacial valley.  Lava Tower, over 100 m high and formed when the volcano was active. During the hike we stopped and took a stream measurement.  The stream was frozen, and the Omani students were excited to see it.  The water flowing underneath...


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We began the hike to Lava Tower, our next campsite, on Saturday morning. At 4600 m it was a significant rise in altitude.  About two hours into our hike, we stopped at a stream to take some GLOBE measurements.  Here students collected data and entered it into an iPad with the GLOBE Data Entry App .  Once we get back to a Wifi connection, all the data we are collecting will be uploaded into the database for all of us to see. Animals are difficult to see in this terrain but they do leave clues for you -- those come in all shapes and sizes.  Earlier...


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Very early Friday morning, we heard the Colobus monkeys screaming and howling.  We awoke to find a Blue Monkey visiting our camp and checking us out.  We left Big Tree camp to a rousing African Omani mix of songs.  Soon we would be at our first protocol destination, a site within the rainforest.  Once we arrived there we divided into groups.  We took atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere measurements.  Once completed we began to transition from rainforest to moorland.  This had heather growing tall, as a scrub... very...


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(Editor's Note: Due to connectivity issues, some of Tony's blogs are being routed through his home office for posting.) The day finally arrived when we would begin our adventure.   After breakfast, we boarded the bus… a very crowded bus and began the three hour drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park.  At the entrance we signed in and saw all the porters who would be accompanying us and taking all the gear.  In our trekking party we had over 90 porters join us, so our group in total is almost 120.  Wow, what a lot of people. We then left the entrance...


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(Editor's Note: Due to connectivity issues, some of Tony's blogs are being routed through his home office for posting.) Wednesday saw another beautiful day in Arusha, and with all the group in the hotel planning began in earnest.  In the morning, we had some team building activities, followed by meeting the guides for Big Expeditions, the company dealing with all the logistics for this adventure.  And what logistics are involved in this: making sure that we would all be safe is paramount on our minds and the guides, and then carrying all our gear plus feeding us on...


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Before I arrived in Africa, I took another quick hike in the hills around Boulder to try to prepare myself for the coming adventure.  It was a beautiful Saturday and the area looked its best: clear blue skies, a little coolness in the air…..a wonderful day to hike.  The environment of course is different than Kilimanjaro in that Colorado is drier and has a different type of vegetation.  The exercise and being out is what was important in my preparation. View from Boulder Trail I left Denver on Sunday morning and arrived at Kilimanjaro airport at 7:30 pm on...


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Thank you to those that were able to join the webinars today. If you were unable to attend, you can check out the recording of the webinar, presentation, and movie HERE ! This will be a great campaign and I look forward to working with all of you. Remember, if you have any questions, please contact me Brian.A.Campbell@nasa.gov The campaign officially starts on October 1, 2015 and runs until April 30, 2016. Happy soil moisture collecting to you all! Brian


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A former middle school student, Payeng, is now a university student and is planning to work with my students this year!! She is now in the process of being approved both by her professor and our district. She chose to do an experiential learning experience instead of a formal class. We are both very excited to have her return to Roswell Kent Middle School!!! 


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GLOBE Friends, 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...


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In about 15 days, I will begin the journey to Africa to join a team of GLOBE students, teachers, and scientists on the Kilimanjaro Learning Xpedition.  This is an exciting trek as it takes us up to almost 6,000 metres (over 19,000 ft).  Almost 30 years ago, I was an expedition leader on a scientific and educational expedition in the Indian Himalayas, and that was an incredible experience. That group included students doing botanical research in a valley high in the mountains of Kashmir followed by a trek through to Leh, Ladakh. Taking part in a scientific expedition at...


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In about 15 days, I will begin the journey to Africa to join a team of GLOBE students, teachers, and scientists on the Kilimanjaro Learning Xpedition.  This is an exciting trek as it takes us up to almost 6,000 metres (over 19,000 ft).  Almost 30 years ago, I was an expedition leader on a scientific and educational expedition in the Indian Himalayas, and that was an incredible experience. That group included students doing botanical research in a valley high in the mountains of Kashmir followed by a trek through to Leh, Ladakh. Taking part in a scientific expedition at...


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Mission managers for NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory have determined that its radar, one of the satellite's two science instruments, can no longer return data. However, the mission, which was launched in January to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed, continues to produce high-quality science measurements supporting SMAP's objectives with its radiometer instrument.   The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles and enhance our ability to monitor and...


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SMAPpers,   The GLOBE/SMAP Soil Moisture Measurement Campaign is almost here! Beginning October 1, 2015 and ending April 30, 2016, we are hoping to get a wide array of GLOBE schools participating.   NASA launched an Earth observing satellite called Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) on January 31, 2015 and its purpose is to measure soil moisture globally with a high level of accuracy. Ground measurements are needed however, in order to validate the satellite measurements. To do this, the SMAP team will compare GLOBE in situ soil moisture with satellite measurements...


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      On August 13-14, 2015, and with generous financial support from University of North Dakota's (UNDs) Summer Programs Office, Dr. Laura Munski and I completed our first 2-day GLOBE training at UND.  We trained three fantastic local teachers who all collaborate with the Dakota Science Center, and one GLOBE scientist who is also a PhD candidate in Atmospheric Sciences at UND.  The first day was focused on Atmosphere while the second day was focused on Earth as a System and Pedosphere ....


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GLOBE students measure the current values of many environmental properties, but the Precipitation Protocol measures the total amounts and the Max/Min Atmosphere and Soil Temperature protocols measure the extremes that have occurred during the previous 24 hours. At the beginning of GLOBE, the time of day for these daily measurements was chosen as within one hour of local solar noon. The thought was that the middle of the school day would be an easy time to have students go outside and take data. Today in GLOBE, the air and soil temperatures can be measured with the digital multi-day...


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Test.


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Mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, are assessing an anomaly with the radar instrument on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite observatory. The radar is one of two science instruments on SMAP used to map global soil moisture and detect whether soils are frozen or thawed. See more HERE!


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In the summer of 2014 - at the International Student Learning Expedition in New Delhi, India, the GLOBE Implementation Office along with NASA's GLOBE Program Manager established formal working groups to engage in discussions around a variety of GLOBE Research/Science, Education, Evaluation, Communications, and Technology challenges now and into the future. These groups comprise memberships from around the world with participants from science, education and technical institutions, and GLOBE Country and Regional Coordinators. I was honored and pleased to have been elected to chair...


Posted in: GLOBE Working Groups: Technology Working Group

Hello GLOBE friends! The Evaluation Working Group was formed last summer and our first meeting took place during  the GLE in New Delhi, India. The purpose of this group is to get in touch with the people who actually do GLOBE all over the world and find out how the Program works in schools, identify tools, resources and practices, build on the existing experience and provide suggestions that can help its implementation and outcomes. For this purpose, and after having  several teleconferences, we developed a set of questions that were included in the Annual Partner Survey....


Posted in: GLOBE Working Groups: Evaluation Working Group

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission has engaged with GLOBE to obtain surface soil moisture measurements from student citizen scientists. These measurements will become part of SMAP’s calibration/validation effort. Gravimetric soil moisture measurements are the gold standard for this environmental variable, and these may be taken by almost anyone. Through GLOBE, the resulting data can be reported and archived and put to use by the SMAP Science Team. SMAP scientists have indicated that measurements from clusters of 10 sites within a 10 km radius circle are particularly...


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The radar measurements made by NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory are sensitive to whether land surfaces are frozen or thawed. As liquid water freezes in soil, the water molecules become bound in a crystalline lattice, which changes how the incoming radar energy from SMAP interacts with Earth's surface, compared to soil containing freely oriented liquid water molecules. Read more HERE!


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"With its antenna now spinning at full speed, NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory has successfully re-tested its science instruments and generated its first global maps, a key step to beginning routine science operations next month." Read more HERE ! Brian


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Hello reader! My name is George Duffy! I am a graduate student from the University of Urbana Champaign, and I am excited to begin sharing my experience as a GPM graduate researcher of with you. My research focuses on snow, or more specifically, snowfall retrieval. Technically, the GPM satellite doesn't measure precipitation, it measures radar echoes from its Dual Frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) and radiation from it's General Microwave Imager (GMI). It's up to us to develop algorithms that can retrieve precipitation information from these radar images. It's...


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The term “won in a landslide” is particularly troubling to me because when a landslide happens, the kind that I study at least, there are seldom “winners”. My research looks at how rainfall interacts with the environment to cause natural disasters like flooding and landslides. Knowing where, when and how much rain or snow is falling is key to understanding where we may have extreme events that can impact people. If you consider where we get a lot of rainfall, like some of our tropical regions… ...and combine that with areas that have the right factors to cause a landslide, such...


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So, now that we have a satellite in space called SMAP, why is the data from the spacecraft so important? SMAP will help: Monitor Drought Predict Floods Assist Crop Productivity Improve Weather Forecasting Linking Water, Energy, and Carbon Cycles Read more HERE


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To find our where the SMAP spacecraft is, at any time in relation to my school, you can check on the S MAP Orbit Calculator Tool ! As you might have noticed in the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol document, we recommend that measurements be taken and collected around 9:00am local time.  This is due to the SMAP spacecraft's 6am and 6pm local time equator crossings.  In order to have optimal SMAP comparison/validation data, it is vital to take your measurements as close to the 9am local time as possible. Any questions, please contact me at Brian.A.Campbell@nasa.gov ...


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Hi, my name is Anna Wilson. I moved to Asheville, NC in the summer of 2004, just before several floods caused by tropical storms left me without power for more than a week. This spurred my previously casual interest in the weather to become an obsession that eventually prompted me to go back to school. Here I am with a PARSIVEL disdrometer (an instrument that measures the size and velocity of particles that pass through its sampling area), after I completed my bachelor’s degree in Atmospheric Science and started working towards my PhD in Environmental Engineering: (photo credit:...


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Hi Everyone, This past week and a half has been rather quiet as we performed two orbital maneuvers. The first maneuver placed the spacecraft at an altitude closer to its final orbit. The second one slightly adjusted the inclination of the orbit to ensure that SMAP goes over the equator at approximately 6:00 am and 6:00 pm every day, which are the ideal times to obtain our science measurements. For those of you wondering how SMAP maneuvers around, the spacecraft contains a single pressurized propellant tank carrying 81 kilograms (179 pounds) of hydrazine. The spacecraft adjusts...


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As you know, SMAP will be giving us unprecedented soil moisture data from around the Earth. But, did you know that SMAP is also looking at frozen soil?  Check out the article link below to learn more about this measurement and how it aligns to our better understanding of our ecosystem and climate change. "Let It Go! SMAP Almost Ready to Map Frozen Soil" SMAPtastic, Brian


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Hey All, We just finished up a two-day GLOBE Train-the-Trainer Workshop at the GEMS World Academy in Chicago, Illinois. Trainers from across the USA came to learn about several NASA Earth Science Missions and their affiliation with GLOBE and associated protocols.  Those missions are Cloud Satellite (Cloudsat), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), and Landsat. On the SMAP side of things, we had a bit of a tough time digging out soil samples for the SMAP Block Pattern Soil Moisture Protocol due to snow/ice cover and partially frozen soil*. ...


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Hi Everyone, This past week has been smooth sailing as we tested both of our instruments, the radar and the radiometer. The radar’s high power transmitter was turned on as the spacecraft was flying over the North Atlantic and then over Greenland. The telemetry data looked great and the signals received clearly showed the transition from ocean to land (yay!). There were some biases with the data that still need to be worked out, however everything is working and we will have a better sense of the quality of the radar data once the antenna starts spinning. During this past week we also...


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Fresh off the recent successful deployment of its 20-foot (6-meter) reflector antenna and associated boom arm, NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory has successfully completed a two-day test of its science instruments. The observatory's radar and radiometer instruments were successfully operated for the first time with SMAP's antenna in a non-spinning mode on Feb. 27 and 28. The test was a key step in preparation for the planned spin-up of SMAP's antenna to approximately 15 revolutions per minute in late March. The spin-up will be performed in a two-step process...


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WOW! If you are not amazed by this GPM Data Visualization loop, you should be! ( www.youtube.com/embed/ILNC7IdyWVU?enablejsapi=1&rel=0 ) Earth SySTEM is an approach to STEM Education that utilizes the current and future technological infrastructure of satellite imagery, remote sensing, and computer visualizations, and data archives in the study of Earth as a System .   So the question becomes, besides being pretty pictures, what else can students do with these types of satellite images, remote sensing and computer visualizations? There are many...


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Hi Everyone, The major milestone this past week was the deployment of the reflector antenna/boom assembly (RBA), which refers to a 5-meter (~16 foot) long boom that holds a 6-meter (~20 foot) diameter antenna at the end of it. For launch the RBA was folded against the spacecraft to fit within the launch vehicle fairing. The boom and antenna together weigh 58 kilograms (127 pounds). Yes, super light for something that size. The boom is a carbon composite structure, made of multiple layers of carbon fiber cloth that are impregnated with a special resin, then baked to create a...


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Last Friday, February 27th, was the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission Core Observatory, and coinciding with that event, released its first global map of rainfall and snowfall, covering the period from April 2014 to September 2014. The data map combines measurements from 12 satellites and the GPM Core Observatory, which serves to unify the data from all the satellites, like the lead violin in an orchestra tuning the rest of the instruments.  The result is NASA's Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM data product, called IMERG,...


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Hi Everyone, A lot has happened since my last posting. The mission operations team has been hard at work testing the spacecraft and learning its intricacies. Having a new satellite in space is like driving a new car, it takes a little while to learn how it behaves and reacts. This past week we’ve been testing subsystems and making sure that temperatures and voltages are within range. Also, we have transitioned the spacecraft to point directly at the ground (nadir). While not everything has behaved as expected, the team has addressed some minor yet unexpected issues quickly and is...


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WOW, WOW, WOW! Early Saturday morning, January 31, 2015, everything was a GO for the SMAP launch except the high altitude winds were too strong to proceed. Everyone was on edge and ten minutes before the scheduled launch time things turned for the better. The wind situation was deemed “green” and it was safe to continue. Whew! The launch itself was an exhilarating experience. As the countdown reached the final two seconds there was a sudden boom, followed by a bright yellow/orange glow and a white cloud that mushroomed to the sides of the rocket. SMAP soared into the sky much faster...


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