673 A Professional Review of NASA's SMAP Mission Pre-Launch Application Effort

Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Vanessa M. Escobar, NASA/GSFC/Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Greenbelt, MD; and M. Brown

Product applications have become an integral part of converting the data collected into actionable knowledge that can be used to inform policy. Successfully bridging scientific research with operational decision making in different application areas requires looking into thematic user requirements and data requirements. NASA's Soil Moisture Active/Passive mission (SMAP) has an applications program that seeks to integrate it's data prior to launch into a broad range of environmental monitoring and decision making systems ranging from drought and flood guidance to disease risk assessment and national security. SMAP is a combined active/passive microwave instrument, which will be launched into a near-polar orbit in late 2014. It aims to produce a series of soil moisture products and soil freeze/thaw products with an accuracy of +/- 10%, a nominal resolution of between 3 and 40km, and latency between 12 hours and 7 days. These measurements will be used to enhance the understanding of processes that link the water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models. The driving success of the SMAP applications program is joining mission scientists to thematic end users and leveraging the knowledge base of soil moisture data applications, increase the speed SMAP data product ingestion into critical processes and research, improving societal benefits to science. Because SMAP has not yet launched, the mission is using test algorithms to determine how the data will interact with existing processes. The objective of this profession review is to solicit data requirements, accuracy needs and current understanding of the SMAP mission from the user community and then feed that back into mission product development. Thus, understanding how users will apply SMAP data, prior to the satellite's launch, is an important component of SMAP Applied Sciences and one of NASA's measures for mission success. This paper presents an analysis of an email-based review of expert end-users and earth science researchers to eliciting how pre-launch activities and research is being conducted in thematic group's organizations. Our focus through the SMAP Applications Program will be to (1) improve the missions understanding of the SMAP user community requirements, (2) document accuracies and biases of remote sensing derived-soil moisture and communicate the perceived challenges and advantages to the mission scientists (3) facilitate the movement of science into policy and decision making arenas and 4) strive to provide a clear path to access proxy data (both in terms of accessibility and format). We will analyze the data of this review to understand the perceived benefits to pre-launch efforts, user engagement and define areas were the connection between science development and user engagement can continue to improve and further benefit future mission pre launch efforts. The research will facilitate collaborative opportunities between agencies, broadening the fields of science where soil moisture observation data can be applied.
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