Nasa delays soil satellite launch

2015-01-29 21:47

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Washington - Nasa on Thursday delayed the scheduled launch of a satellite that would aid scientists in predicting floods and droughts worldwide and provide more accurate estimates on how climate change would impact water supplies.

The launch was postponed for 24 hours due to concerns about high winds. The satellite was rescheduled for launch aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg air force base in California at 14:20 GMT on Friday.

The soil moisture active passive (Smap) satellite will provide key insight into the earth's water, carbon and energy cycles as it tracks the moisture in soil.

The mission will provide information that will allow forecasters to better track ground water saturation and producing more accurate flood and drought predictions, said Dara Entekhabi, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher who is leading the Smap team.

Smap will also track whether water is frozen or thawed, providing insight into the length of growing seasons and the amount of carbon being stored by vegetation as scientists work to understand the impacts of climate change.

The satellite will scan the earth using a radar and a radiometer to produce high-resolution global maps every two to three days over at least the next three years, said Nasa scientists.

Read more on:    nasa  |  us  |  agriculture  |  climate change

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