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NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive Observatory Mission in Photos

Sunset on SMAP Satellite

NASA/Randy Beaudoin

The sun sets on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive mission satellite at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where SMAP is undergoing preparations for liftoff, scheduled for Jan. 29, 2015. Image released Jan. 21, 2015.

Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite Transported

NASA/Randy Beaudoin

Workers transport NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive across Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to Space Launch Complex 2, where it will mate with a Delta II rocket for launch, scheduled for Jan. 29. Image released Jan. 21, 2015.

SMAP Readied for Move

NASA/U.S. Air Force Photo Squadron

Technicians place a transportation canister around NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft for its move to the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Image released Jan. 21, 2015.

SMAP Prepared for Delta II Rocket

NASA

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft lowers onto the Delta II payload attach structure in the Astrotech payload processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellite will launch on Jan. 29, 2015. Image released Jan. 20. 2015.

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive Spacecraft

NASA/Robert Rasmison

Workers remove a protective covering revealing NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive, or SMAP, spacecraft in the Astrotech payload processing facility on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California during an inspection. Launch is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2015. Image released Nov. 5, 2014.

How SMAP Works

By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist

NASA's SMAP, or the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite, will measure groundwater content and frozen/thawed state, all over the world every three days. See how the SMAP dirt-tracking satellite works in this infographic.

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