Satnews Daily
September 4th, 2015

NASA's SMAP Suffers A Severe Setback ... Ceases Some Operations

[SatNews] A setback has been suffered by NASA for their SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite as, apparently, the technologically-advanced radar system has totally ceased operation.

Artistic rendition of the SMAP satellite.

Image courtesy of NASA /JPL.

Troubleshooting efforts have been to no avail, and NASA has now declared the radar systems as a loss, after reporting the problem with the system last July. The main radar unit was only in operation for three months before the breakdown.

The ability to capture data that measured the Earth’s soil moisture for analysis as far as climate change and forecasting floods are concerned will now solely rest with the second instrument aboard SMAP. Unfortunately, the second instrument does not deliver the high level of detail as the main radar unit.

According to scientists, they will now use whatever data can be gleaned by the satellite with other data processing technologies to now fill in the gaps the loss of the main instrument incurs, including advanced computer modeling to help estimate the planet’s soil moisture.