NASA launches soil observatory

NASA launches soil observatory

Three-year satellite mission will expand understanding of Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

THE National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) successfully launched its first Earth satellite designed to collect global observations of soil moisture just below the surface.

The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory, a mission with broad applications for science and society, lifted off Jan. 31 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

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