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SMAP - Soil Moisture Active Passive - Mapping soil moisture and freeze/thaw state from Space
BLOGS FROM THE FIELD
First Science Flights
fig1_0607
Narendra on the soybean field #123. We should see a big difference in a few weeks!
June 7, 2012
Eni Njoku
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Today was planned as the first full day of science flights and soil moisture sampling. The morning Go/No-Go telecon confirmed our "Go" decision of yesterday evening, so the ground sampling crews were given the signal to head for the fields (an hour or more drive from Winnipeg) and the PALS folk headed for the airport.

A news reporter from CBC News Manitoba showed up at the airport to take some video of the PALS/Twin Otter and get an interview on the "science". The segment was shown on the evening TV news. The report can be found here. I haven't been able to get a tape of the video yet but will post it when I do.

Narendra sent some photos of his field sampling. He wrote: "We started crop structure sampling today. The plants are at nascent stage... ...I sampled five fields (121, 122, 123, 124, and 125), one forage (121), one bean (123), and three canola (122, 124, 125). I also got pics of the Twin Otter overpass."

fig2_0607
Twin Otter captured flying overhead.

The PALS data analyzed after the flight by Andreas looked good. The interference anomaly seems to have been traced to its source, and further tests tomorrow (no-fly day) may resolve it.

At the afternoon telecon the Environment Canada meteorologist (Mike) informed us that there was a high probability of rain for this evening, continuing through tomorrow morning (Friday), so we all agreed that we will make Friday a "No-Go" day (no aircraft flights or soil moisture sampling). We will try for vegetation sampling if the rain has cleared early enough in the morning.

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