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 helpful. Students at a GLOBE school can provide these by forming a SMAP Club. Each club member takes a soil sample in the morning before coming to school on the days when SMAP flies over. The sealed samples are brought to school, uncovered, weighed, dried, and weighed again. Sample may be taken at club members’ homes or at other sites that are appropriate and convenient. If the Club has more than 10 members, they can take turns providing the 10 samples.
SMAP Clubs are a way to contribute important environmental data that will help a major satellite research mission. This is a community service activity and need not be a part of a specific class. As the results come in, they may also be of use to local gardeners and agriculturalists and may be included in local weather broadcasts. So please consider getting together with others in your community to start a SMAP Club and make a significant contribution to our knowledge of Earth.