Airborne Microwave Observatory of Subcanopy and Subsurface

Threee images collage of a woman inserting a soil moisture sensor into the ground, a radar image over green cropland, and an orange air-polluted sky over some buildings.

North American ecosystems are critical components of the global carbon cycle. To grow, an ecosystem's plants use sunlight, atmospheric carbon dioxide and the moisture available to their roots. They also release some carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

NASA's AirMOSS radar measures root-zone soil moisture to help determine the overall carbon exchange between plants and the atmosphere.

Flying on a Gulfstream-III (G-III) aircraft, AirMOSS will use radar to collect soil moisture data from nine climatic habitats in North America to estimate how much carbon the continent is taking in or releasing to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has an important influence on climate, and the AirMOSS results will help to improve the accuracy of climate projections for the next 50-100 years. AirMOSS is part of NASA's Earth Ventures 1 program.

AirMOSS' goal was to


Observe soil

moisture over

diverse North


climatic regions


Understand how

different soil

moisture levels

affect the

carbon cycle



uncertainty of

carbon exchanges

on a continental



Learn the basics of AirMOSS: what it is, how it works, where and when the mission took place, and the team behind it all.


Understand why root zone soil moisture is important and how it informs our knowledge about the continental carbon cycle.


Explore the data products that the AirMOSS mission collected and produced.


Discover interviews, engaging interactives, fun downloadables and videos pertaining to AirMOSS.