Improving Large-Scale, Remote Soil Moisture Sensing

Soil moisture information is just as important to NASA engineers as it is to local farmers. This data is used to monitor climate patterns and predict landslides, and University of Michigan Michigan engineers are working on a system that will make collecting and analyzing it more accurate. Currently, most soil moisture data comes remotely from instruments attached to satellites. This allows for large-scale monitoring, but these systems need on-the-ground feedback for calibration. Electrical engineering professor Mingyan Liu and her team have developed special sensors and are planting them at test sites in Oklahoma and California. This hardware will help make large-scale remote soil moisture sensing more useful. It also offers new opportunities for smaller, local sensing applications.