The junior Earth Observation Space Agency !

Category : CATDS, Data, L4, Tools, Training


The best experiences are the ones we do with passion … and with friends.

Last week, my previous officemate and dear friend Jerome was organising a Science fair during the Week for Science in France. More precisely, a non-profit organisation “Scientomomes” that he chairs was organising the fair with a multitude of stands covering information technology and robotics (this is Jerome’s universe), archaeology, fluid mechanics…

Eager to join the team, I suggested a workshop on EO satellites. The idea was to simplify the process behind an earth observation mission for the kids and make them build rudimentary models.

So I imagined a workshop divided into three steps:

What to observe ?

First the kids select a subject of interest: hydrology, oceanography…and most important an issue that passionate them: melting of the ice sheets, flood monitoring, deforestation…And from this they select a technology (satellite) that can help answer their question much like a phase 0 (CNES) for an EO mission. For this they use a monitor connected to a pc with the following links/apps from CNES/ESA/Google:


Make your satellite model

Then they build the satellite from basic tools that covers the main components: container, power source, scientific instruments, communication device, and orientation finders. Nothing sophisticated. They use printed models of satellites, gold papers for isolation, cardboards, screws for thruters… (Here they are at phase C). Here is one rudimentary example from NASA :



Launch it…

Last step they launch the satellite, make the commissioning and check the actual data from the mission. Finally they make sure the satellite is destroyed properly (well in this case virtually). For the launch we used a youtube videos over a connected monitor:

Needless to say the event was a great success and we had an army of future engineers building the most extensive Earth Observation System of Systems !

And to my delight Clement (the future engineer you see in the first picture) selected to make a satellite to monitor soil moisture and he made a model of ESA SMOS satellite.  So the future seems to be bright…


See Africa Breathing!

Category : CATDS, Data, L3

Simon Gascoin from CESBIO just sent me this animation he made using CATDS SMOS L3 SM over Africa


SMOS MONTHLY SM Fields over Africa (click to activate)

It is fascinating to see not only the pulsating effect of ITCZ over Africa, but also its counterpart in South Africa, the Euphrates  or the rainy seasons over the Maghreb, the internal Niger delta or the Okavango and many more … Enjoy

L band continuation… a need!

Category : Data

Dear colleagues,
The 3rd Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Application Workshop took place in September 2016 in New York City.

The workshop summary has just been published in the GEWEX newsletter (p 29-31). You may want to look at it and note that at the end (page 31) it states that « The workshop participants recommended that instruments taking passive microwave L-Band measurements be continued in new constellations of satellites (i.e., complementing the ASCAT and AMSR series, and the Sentinel-1s). »

What’s next?

Category : Data, Satellite

Dear reader of this blog.

As you are well aware SMOS and SMAP (and Aquarius for that matter) are delivering excellent data, demonstrating every day the usefulness and uniqueness of L Band data for monitoring certain facets of our planet. Moreover, many operational or pre-operational applications are emerging. The sad thing is that our dear satellites are like us, they don’t get younger with time. … and no follow on L Band radiometers are currently decided. We are thus facing a severe data gap if a follow-on is not very soon set up.

Actually the situation is getting somewhat critical and i am convinced we should get moving quite soon on this critical issue.

I thought that we could use this forum to highlight the areas the expression of needs for L band radiometry. If you have interesting elements let me know!

In the mean time see 6 years of global soil moisture as prepared by Ali Mahmoodi with 6 years of  SMOS data.anim-sm-6y

Monthly evolution of soil moisture for teh first 6 years of SMOS (2010-2015)

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