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(Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity)

SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) is earth exploration satellite from the European Space Agency (ESA). SMOS is used to observe soil moisture over the Earth's landmasses and salinity over the oceans. Soil moisture data are urgently required for hydrological studies and data on ocean salinity are vital for improving our understanding of the climate of the planet.

Moisture and salinity decrease the emissivity of soil and seawater respectively, and thereby affect the radiation emitted from the surface of the Earth. SMOS measures radiation emitted from the Earth's surface at L-band (1400 - 1427 MHz) using a passive sensor.

The satellite is in a circular orbit around the Earth on a height of roughly 760 km. The satellite covers the whole earth in three days.

SMOS was successfully launched on November 2nd 2009 and it is the second Earth Explorer mission to be developed as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme.


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