ARIEL, soil moisture retrieval by microwave remote sensing

ARIEL is a microwave radiometer that provides remote soil moisture data. What cameras cannot see beyond surface, Balamis sensors can. ARIEL is a non-intrusive method able to effectively retrieve soil moisture over small and large areas easily. ARIEL can be placed on-board aircrafts, UAVs (Unmmanned Aerial Vehicles) and ground vehicles.
Technology validated in relevant environment.
Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly. The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so they can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include “high-fidelity” laboratory integration of components.
Technology has been validated and demonstrated in lab and relevant environment (field testing campaign) with a prototype developed to fly with Cartographic Institute of Catalonia. There is an available prototype version at BALAMIS headquarters mounted on a quad motorbike. New testing activities are being currently performed to fine tune the retrieval of soil moisture.

How does it work?

ARIEL is a passive microwave radiometer based on the same technology of MIRAS sensor on-board satellite SMOS mission. It measures natural thermal emission at the microwave wavelength of 1.4 GHz, which is strongly related to the content of water in the observed target. It requires a power supply from 12 to 24V, and consumes a max. of 50W. It requires a mechanical interface with the platform to be used on. Its installation takes less than 10 min. in ground vehicles and UAVs, and needs to be homologated in aircrafts. The antenna has to be adapted to existing “holes” for Earth observation in the fuselage, and data is synchronized with other systems using an internal GPS time stamp.