‘Most Expensive’ Earth-Imaging Satellite: Beyond Climate Change

Technology > IT

The  ‘most-expensive' Earth-imaging satellite to date stands a good chance of getting US President Donald Trump’s investment nod even after he made public his aversion to anything that deals with climate change.

Trump has made his intentions clear that ‘climate change’ is not his priority.  He recently pulled out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (and called other countries who support it as ‘freeloaders’ – including India, China and Russia).

The satellite, a collaborative mission of two of the biggest space organizations in the world – National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and India Space Research Organization (ISRO), will perform a host of activities other than just tackling the “Climate Change” problem.  

For one, the satellite called NISAR, an abbreviation for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), will promote disaster management at its highest level by collecting data which will further be used for proactive planning for disasters.  Infrastructure monitoring, Agricultural Monitoring, Water Resource monitoring and other such applications are also seen to benefit from the collected data.

In an interaction with Geospatial World, a remote sensing expert revealed that the jointly developed satellite be used to study global hazards and environmental change.  Dr. Paul Rosen of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA said NISAR is a dual frequency L and S band SAR mission which will map the Earth from two directions every 12 days. 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.

Rosen emphasized that NISAR is poised to cover a broad category of data collection, “from agriculture to disaster response to coastal processes to ocean wind and almost anything that you can use with fast, time-series radar.”

The NISAR satellite’s an advanced radar will observe and measure some of the most complex processes of Earth, including natural calamities, ecosystem disruption and more. ISRO Chief A. S. 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 centimeters of accuracy.

Expectations run high that the project will get the US President’s go-signal as NISAR’s capabilities for data collection are seen to improve the current responsiveness of various applications pertaining to disaster management.


Photo Source: MrMiscellanious via Wikimedia Commons