4 2 logo

nasa 1

The initiative, which will provide a decision-making tool for irrigation management, includes the validation of remote sensed data through a Land Group of a number greater than the 70 persons, led by the ULS researcher, Héctor Maureira, who, coinciding with the passage of the aircraft, will make measurements and take samples of soil and vegetation in agricultural fields of various types.

Juan Soldado, Callegari, La Alpina and Las Cardas will be the four points that will measure, like last year, the mission UAVSAR (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar), unmanned aerial vehicle with synthetic aperture polarimetric radar from NASA that will fly over the Region of Coquimbo on Saturday 26 in April in the framework of an initiative promoted by the head of the Central Laboratory of Analysis and Applied Research of the University of La Serena, Mg. Héctor Maureira Castillo, whose purpose is to make soil moisture measurements by radar remote sensing.

The Tabalí and Tamaya vineyards are added to the aforementioned sampling points, whose crops were chosen to develop a new project that will be executed by scientists from NASA and the Research Service of the Department of Agriculture of the United States, among them, Bill Kustas and Martha Anderson, and that considers the Creation of a Water Management Model of a crop, using satellite data, that will provide a decision-making tool for irrigation management, through Evapotranspiration, Temperature and Humidity maps. Soil and Vegetation, and Water Stress.

The proposed studies will be carried out simultaneously in California (USA) and in Chile (Region of Coquimbo) and its objectives are to determine how spatial or airborne remote sensing can be used by wine producers to increase yield and crop quality in key parameters such as sugar content, bunch density and susceptibility to mold growth; determine the adequate arrangement of remote sensing data considering the radiometric, spatial resolution and revisit period; and evaluate the efficiency of the integrated array of satellite sensors and the data obtained in the field to improve the decision-making process of the vine grower and increase the vineyard's profits.

nasa 2'' As a first step, this project will allow us to measure this model in a vine crop, because it has a higher value added crop and a much closer management to produce a good response in the quantity, for example, of sugar vineyard (...). It will allow us to generate Evapotranspiration maps that have a pixel size and information of 10 meters. That means that you can know all the Evapotranspiration information that exists in a specific terrain; once that Evapotranspiration is established, irrigation management can be done and therefore we can optimize the use of water, "explained the ULS researcher, Mg. Héctor Maureira, who added that it would be the first time this water management model has been used in Latin America, which could also be expanded to other crops or natural vegetable coverings, evaluating the degree of water stress of the vegetables, creating drought maps, its monitoring, observation of trends, increase forecasting possibilities and guide and optimize aid in the region.

Ground Group

For the validation of the remote sensed data by the L-band synthetic aperture radar, a Ground Crew has been formed of a number greater than the 70 persons, which, coinciding with the passage of the aircraft, will make measurements and take sample of soil and vegetation in agricultural fields of various types: dry soils with vegetation, dry soils without vegetation and soils irrigated with vegetables with different degrees of coverage of the vegetable and different ordering of the crop. In addition, they will carry out the same operation in the vineyards of Tabalí and Tamaya.

nasa 3The ground group was organized under the direction of Professor Héctor Maureira Castillo and has the collaboration of professionals and undergraduate students from the University of La Serena, Universidad Católica del Norte, Universidad Mayor, Oterra Natural Resources Study Center, Instituto and Technical Training Center Santo Tomas, University of Chile - Ceza Arid Zones Study Center, Chilean Army-21 Coquimbo Regiment, Chilean Navy-Coquimbo Maritime Governance, Chilean Investigation Police, Ministry of Public Works, Agrícola Callegari Ltda., Agrícola La Alpina Ltda., Viña Tabalí SA and Viña Tamaya SA. In addition, it sponsors the Compañía Minera del Pacífico initiative.

On the part of the farmers, we have the collaboration of the farms Los Maitenes de Agrícola Callegari, Juan Soldado and La Alpina de Carlos Erler, and the field of the Las Cardas Experimental Center of the Center for the Study of Arid Zones (CEZA) of the University of Chile.

The measurements that will be made in the field are soil moisture, soil temperature, biomass, apparent density, texture and soil morphology; and will be validated with the radar data obtained by the mission.


The UAVSAR is a polarimetric L-band radar sensor that is transported in a Gulfstream-III 502 jet that has an automatic pilot that controls the aircraft and has the ability to fly the same trajectory, both in height and direction, as many times as necessary. , within a range not greater than 10 mts. (33 feet), allowing, in addition, to perform multitemporal interferometric measurements. The radar of the UAVSAR is placed in a container that is installed under the plane.

The Nasa-UAVSAR mission, is a test of the sensors that is being carried out across different parts of the Earth to validate those that will be incorporated in the SMAP (Soil Moisture Activ Pasiv) satellite that will be launched on November 5 of 2014, with which periodic measurements of soil moisture throughout the planet will be obtained, serving as a basic input for the creation of moisture and drought models, which will allow us to understand, together with other data, the climatological processes that our region undergoes, exposed currently, to a long period of drought.