There could be an app for detecting wildfires

Apr 26, 2019
Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Predicting when a heat wave or wildfire hits in California could be as easy as looking to an app.


Scientists are looking forward to using a new satellite that will help them track California's ongoing drought and create more accurate and longer-term forecasts.

It's known as SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) and is scheduled to launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday morning at 6:20 a.m.

It's main purpose is to observe the entire surface of the Earth with a focus on soil moisture and the world's freeze and thaw zones.

United Launch Alliance video still

UPDATE: August 13, 2014 at 2:51 p.m.  

Another successful launch for the team at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

The Atlas V rocket carried the WorldView 3 satellite into orbit without a hitch. It's designed to take ultra clear photos of the earth to be used by a wide array of commercial sources, Google and Microsoft maps among them.

Original Story:

Scientists at Vandenberg Air Force Base are preparing for Wednesday's launch of an Atlas V rocket.