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Here's Why NASA-ISRO Satellite Will Pass Donald Trump's Test

NISAR, an abbreviation for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar [SAR] is a joint mission of NASA and ISRO which is aimed at studying global hazards and environmental change.

Sarthak Dogra | News18.com@SarthakDogra

Updated:July 4, 2017, 11:12 AM IST
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Here's Why NASA-ISRO Satellite Will Pass Donald Trump's Test
Representative Image. (Image: NASA/Handout via REUTERS)
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A collaborative mission of two of the biggest space organisations in the world – NASA and ISRO hangs in balance as US President Donald Trump has made his intentions clear on not having ‘Climate Change’ as his priority. After recently pulling out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (and calling other countries who support it as ‘Freeloaders’ – including India, China and Russia), Donald Trump has put a big question mark on whether the US President will be interested in investing in 'the most-expensive' Earth-Imaging satellite to date, which is being developed by ISRO and NASA in partnership.

If it was just for addressing the ‘Climate Change’ happening across the globe, the collaboration might not have passed the scrutiny of the US President. However, as per the industry experts, that is not the case. In an interaction with Geospatial World, a remote sensing expert revealed that the jointly developed satellite, termed as NISAR, will perform a host of activities other than just tackling the ‘Climate Change’. In fact, Climate Change would be a very small part of what the satellite would actually do.

NISAR, an abbreviation for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar [SAR] is a joint mission of NASA and ISRO which is aimed at studying global hazards and environmental change. The ‘other’ activities in NISAR’s objectives include disaster management at its highest level, by the collection of data which will further be used for proactive planning for disasters. Additionally, Infrastructure monitoring, Agricultural Monitoring, Water Resource monitoring and other such applications will also benefit from the collected data.

As per Dr Paul Rosen of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA, NISAR is a dual frequency L and S band SAR mission which will Map the earth from two directions in every 12 days. In the same interaction, he further explained that the primary objectives of the NISAR satellite include cryosphere studying, ice sheets, climate and its variability, deforestation, volcanic eruptions and earthquake detection. He stressed upon the broad category of data collection that NISAR is poised to cover, “from agriculture to disaster response to coastal processes to ocean wind and almost anything that you can use with fast, time series radar.” On the same note, ex-NASA Chief - Charles F. Bolden told Geospatial World “The primary focus of the satellite would be to detect changes in earth’s crest. We are looking for hints at earthquake detection that will help us save lots of lives and money."

NISAR satellite will use an advanced radar to observe and measure some of the most complex processes of Earth, including natural calamities, ecosystem disruption and more. ISRO Chief – AS Kiran Kumar clarified that apart from additional inputs like biomass estimation, soil moisture and glaciers, NISAR satellite would also provide valuable input on earth’s surface deformation with up to a few centimetres of accuracy. This will, in turn, lead to regular data collection of earthquakes and hence help in their monitoring. ISRO has also encouraged many academic institutions to come up with a plan to utilise the data collected by NISAR satellite.

It is clear that NISAR will be a huge value-add for data collection across the Earth’s most disaster-prone areas. This data can then be used for guided development across the regions and improve the current responsiveness of various applications pertaining to disaster management. Keeping all of these value-adds in mind, there is a propelling reason for both the US and India to go ahead with the mission with utmost commitment.

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| Edited by: Sarthak Dogra
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