The Stream, September 4: Radar Instrument Aboard NASA Soil Moisture Satellite Fails

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

An important instrument aboard a NASA satellite that measures soil water has failed. The United States Forest Service is burning through its wildland firefighting budget. Los Angeles is looking a lot more drought-prepared than Sao Paulo in the eyes of investors.

“The project will do all it can to meet the expectations of the science community.” — Dara Entekhabi, researcher involved with NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, on the failure of one of SMAP’s radar instruments. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$U.S. 243 million – The record amount that the U.S. Forest Service spent on fighting wildfires last week.  The Forest Service has burned through its entire 12-month budget for fighting fires and is now having to borrow money from forest restoration funds – a situation that has arisen in six of the last ten years. Associated Press


Science, Studies, And Reports

A radar instrument on NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, which measures moisture in the top 5 centimeters of the earth’s soil, has failed. The instrument is one of two aboard the satellite, and provided much more detailed measurements than its counterpart. Troubleshooting attempts have been unsuccessful, so the scientific community will now have to make do with less detailed data from the one remaining functional instrument. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Sao Paulo, Brazil’s water supply company Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo (SABESP) to a junk rating, and given Sao Paulo an unfavorable comparison to Los Angeles in terms of handling drought. Los Angeles has better performed at reducing leakage and improving conservation, while SABESP has “less independence to set rates”, Moody’s wrote in a research note. Bloomberg Business

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