Top
Millennium Post

NASA satellite to track droughts, boost flood warnings

NASA satellite to track droughts, boost flood warnings
NASA is launching a new satellite this month that will improve drought monitoring and flood warnings. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite will provide the best maps yet of soil moisture levels from pole to pole, scientists said. For the first time, scientists will get a bird’s-eye view of drought patterns; for instance, they will watch where droughts begin and end, and how droughts spread across large areas. Scientists said the soil moisture maps will help farmers who depend on rain to irrigate crops.

The soil moisture maps could also help improve flood warnings because forecasters will know how wet the ground is before an intense storm, ‘Live Science’ reported. Data from the satellite will track global soil moisture levels for the top 5 centimetres of Earth’s surface every two to three days. The mission is planned to last three years, at a cost of USD 916 million, but the instruments could last several years longer, mission scientists said. The SMAP satellite, which will be carried aloft by a Delta II rocket, is scheduled to launch on January 29 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Meanwhile, NASA’s venerable Kepler space telescope’s count of exoplanets has passed the magic 1,000 mark, including eight new planets and 544 candidate planets. Of more than 1,000 verified planets found, eight are less than twice Earth-size and in their stars’ habitable zone, the US space agency said. Kepler continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study - the 1,000th of which was recently verified.

Using Kepler data, scientists reached this millinery milestone after validating that eight more candidates spotted by the planet-hunting telescope are, in fact, planets. The Kepler team also has added another 554 candidates to the roll of potential planets, six of which are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of stars similar to our Sun. 
PTI

PTI

Our contributor helps bringing the latest updates to you


Next Story
Share it