Airbus Defence and Space

Tracking the world’s water patterns

First images from SMOS mission

In less than four months since launch on 2 November last year, the first calibrated images were delivered by the European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission. These images of ‘brightness temperature’ translate into clear information on global variations of soil moisture and ocean salinity to advance our understanding of the water cycle. The SMOS mission, whose all-important MIRAS instrument was developed by Airbus Defence and Space Spain, is improving our understanding of Earth’s water cycle by making global observations of soil moisture over land and salinity over oceans. By consistently mapping these two variables, SMOS will not only advance our understanding of the exchange processes between Earth’s surface and atmosphere, but will also help to improve weather and climate models.