The SMOS mission was born from the conjonction of new technological developments (CASA EADS et Thales Alenia Space) and the modelling needs for meteorological prediction.
The scientific objective of this mission is to obtain a better estimate of the spatio-temporal water budget at the global scale and ocean/atmosphere interactions.
The principal investigator of this mission is Yann H. Kerr Head of the CESBIO.
It is now well understood that soil moisture and sea surface salinity are required
to improve meteorological and climatic predictions. These two quantities are not
yet available globally and with an adequate temporal sampling. So as to cover this data gap, it has been
recognized that, provided it is possible to accommodate a suitable antenna on board a satellite, L Band
radiometry was most probably the most promising way to fulfill this gap .
It is within this framework that the European Space Agency (ESA)’s selected the second Earth Explorer
Opportunity Mission, namely the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission.
The SMOS mission
a joint program lead by ESA with the CNES in France and the CDTI in Spain.