Evaluation of Two Soil Moisture Sensor Designs for Spaceflight Applications 2002-01-2385
A study was conducted evaluating the Temperature and Moisture Acquisition System (TMAS; Orbital Technologies, Madison, WI) and the Specific Heat Sensor (Thermal Logic, Pullman, WA) for root zone moisture level monitoring. Each design used a heat pulse and measured the transient temperature response to determine soil moisture changes. The sensors were placed in a polycarbonate compartment filled with oven-dried 1-2 mm Turface. Data was collected from the dry media, then the media was saturated with water and evaporation was monitored using the sensors and a digital balance. Generally, the TMAS sensors tended to over-estimate, while the Thermal Logic sensors under-estimated changes in soil moisture.