Coinciding with the passage of the aircraft, the validation of the remote sensed data was carried out through a Land Group, whose members made measurements and took samples of soil and vegetation in agricultural fields of various types.
For the second year in a row, the UAVSAR mission (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar), a NASA air vehicle that has a polarimetric L-band radar sensor, flew over a large part of the Coquimbo Region for the purpose of making soil moisture measurements by radar remote sensing. To the four fields measured in 2013 (Juan Soldado, Callegari, La Alpina and Las Cardas), this year an international cooperation project involving scientists from NASA, from the Research Service of the Department of Agriculture of the United States, was incorporated. and from the University of La Serena, through the head of the Central Laboratory of Analysis and Applied Research of the state staff, Mg. Héctor Maureira, who added to the analysis the vineyards of Tamaya and Tabalí (Province of Limarí) with the objective of creating a Water Management Model of vine cultivation, using satellite data, which will provide a decision-making tool for the management of the vine. irrigation, through maps of Evapotranspiration, Temperature and Humidity of Soil and Vegetation, and Water Stress.
It is hoped that through the use of satellite information it will be possible to increase yield and quality related to key parameters such as yield per hectare, sugar content and bunch density. "All of the above can be achieved through the information generated by maps, which will allow adopting an efficient irrigation strategy, knowing when and how much water to use," said Maureira, who said the model could also be expanded to others. natural crops or coverings of our region, currently exposed to a long period of drought.
For the validation of the data remotely sensed by the radar, the support of a Terrain Group consisting of more than 70 persons was required, which, coinciding with the passage of the aircraft, made measurements and sampling of soil and vegetation in the fields agricultural products mentioned above.
'' Soil samples were taken to measure humidity and also samples of biomass, that is, vegetable. To these is added the measurement of the roughness of the terrain and the temperature, which are elements that serve to correct the radar images, "explained ULS researcher Hector Maureira, adding that this sampling was in charge of students and professionals from the University of La Serena, Universidad Católica del Norte, Universidad Mayor, Oterra Natural Resources Study Center and Santo Tomas Institute and Technical Training Center, previous hiring and marking of points of the Chilean Army (Regiment N ° 21 Coquimbo) and the Chilean Navy (Maritime Governance of Coquimbo). While personnel of the Investigation Police of Chile (Metropolitan Region), made the georeferencing of the sampling points, "in order to achieve the absolute precision of the point at which the sample is taken, which is confronted with the information that generates the airplane, "said the expert.
The work in the field counted with the collaboration of these institutions and the University of Chile - Ceza Arid Zone Studies Center, the Ministry of Public Works, Agrícola Callegari Ltda., Agrícola La Alpina Ltda., Viña Tabalí SA and Viña Tamaya SA In addition, This mission was sponsored by Compañía Minera del Pacífico.
According to the director of the NASA-UAVSAR Mission in the Coquimbo Region, Héctor Maureira, the results of the samples and the information obtained by the plane are expected to be ready by the end of July.
NASA-UAVSAR mission, is a test of the sensors that is being carried out across different places on Earth to validate those that will be incorporated in the SMAP (Soil Moisture Activ Pasiv) satellite that will be launched on 5 November 2014, with which periodic measurements of soil moisture from all over the planet will be obtained, serving as a basic input for the creation of humidity and drought models, which will allow us to understand, together with other data, the climatological processes suffered by the region