By Air, Land, and Space
SMAP data help scientists model global weather and climate. Measurements collected by air and land help validate the accuracy of SMAP satellite data.
Read more ...
Season of Change
How will climate change affect the planet's water supply and food production? Scientists studying Earth's water and energy cycles turn to SMAP data to answer that question.
Read more ...
Laying the Groundwork
Groundwork is an important part of every science satellite mission. Tag along with SMAP scientists as they blog from the field.
Read more ...
Measuring Soil from Space
SMAP is a NASA Earth science mission that uses microwave radar and radiometer instruments to measure soil moisture from space.
Read more ...
Man trudging through snow to a weather station
Autumn Landscape
Scientist digs in the grass
Illustration of satellite in orbit


The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) will jointly manage SMAP science data on behalf of the NASA ESDIS Project. Currently, NSIDC distributes validation campaign data for the SMAP mission. Post-launch, NSIDC will distribute and support Level 1-4 SMAP science data.

About the Instrument

Launched in January 2015, the SMAP instrument includes a radiometer and a high-resolution radar to measure surface soil moisture and freeze-thaw state. The instrument is designed to make coincident measurements of surface emission and backscatter, and to sense soil conditions through moderate vegetation cover. With a swath width of 1,000 km, SMAP provides global coverage within three days at the equator and two days at boreal latitudes (greater than 45 degrees N).

Launch Date

January 2015

First Mission Data

Summer 2015

About the Mission

The primary science objective of SMAP is to create global, high-resolution mapping of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state with unprecedented accuracy, resolution, and coverage to:

  • link terrestrial water, energy, and carbon cycle processes
  • estimate global water and energy fluxes at the land surface
  • quantify net carbon flux in boreal landscapes
  • extend weather and climate forecast capabilities
  • develop improved flood and drought prediction capability
  • develop improved agricultural productivity and climate change prediction capability