Los Angeles: Till recently, American space agency NASA and India’s ISRO were almost forbidden to talk to each other as sanctions were in place. But that has changed now, and the two space agencies are jointly making a satellite called NISAR that will monitor the Earth like never before.
NISAR or the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite could possibly be the world’s most expensive Earth imaging satellite and will cost the two countries over 1.5 billion dollars. Indian and American scientists are working overtime to make this satellite a reality.
“NISAR is the first big collaboration between NASA and ISRO, certainly on RADAR but just in general as well. This is two frequency RADAR, it is an L-band 24 centimetre RADAR and S-band 13 centimetre. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA. It is a major collaboration both in terms of the technical building of the satellite as well as working together across the Pacific between India and US,” said Paul A Rosen, a scientist working on the NISAR satellite project.
The NISAR satellite will be launched in 2021 from India using the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and it opens a new vista in Indo-US friendship.
Mr Rosen says “We are going to be making snap shots of the Earth every week using these two radars that gives us a time lapse image of the motion of the tectonic plates, of the ice sheets, of the changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests. So what we are doing is looking at time variability of the Earth over the life of the mission to understand how disasters evolve, how earthquakes occur, how volcanoes occur, how the ice sheets are changing and affecting sea level rise, and how forest fires and changes in the forest cover affect the atmosphere. It is very relevant to what society cares about which is changes in our climate, changes in our environment and how it affects society.”