From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : GRACE-FO Mission
Mains level : Groundwater recharge and conservation efforts
NASA releases new global maps mapping groundwater, soil wetness using GRACE-FO satellites.
- The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).
- GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which orbited Earth from 2002-2017.
- It carries on the extremely successful work of its predecessor while testing a new technology designed to dramatically improve the already remarkable precision of its measurement system.
Why need such data on groundwater and soil moisture?
- Groundwater and soil moisture — which depicts wetness in soil — are crucial for irrigation and crop growth.
- The need to constantly monitor groundwater and soil moisture is important since both act as useful indicators for predicting drought conditions.
- One of the goals of the new global maps is to make the same consistent product available in all parts of the world, especially in countries that do not have any groundwater-monitoring infrastructure.
- The data would help in managing the selection of appropriate agricultural crops and predicting yields.