Saturday, September 23, 2023

Nisar shows up in India: How will this joint Isro-Nasa mission respond?

The spacecraft has been designed to have the most advanced radar system ever launched on a science mission.

By Sibu Tripathi: Amid the continuous cooperation between the global space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and America’s Nasa have come together for a joint mission to better understand the effects and pace of climate change.

The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (Nisar) has arrived in India after being developed in the US.

The spacecraft landed in Bengaluru and has been moved to the UR Rao Satellite Centre for further testing and assembly with Isro’s satellite bus, moving the Earth science mission a step closer to its 2024 launch from Sriharikota.

Nisar is a joint Earth observation mission developed by India and the US to better understand the vast climatic changes unfolding on the planet that could cause serious damage in the coming years. The two countries are providing two different radar systems for the mission.

As part of the mission, Nasa is providing the mission’s L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), reflector antenna, deployable boom, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers, a solid-state recorder, and payload data subsystem. Meanwhile, India is providing the spacecraft bus, the S-band SAR, the launch vehicle, and associated launch services and satellite mission operations.

Nisar will be the first such satellite to operate beyond Earth that can systematically map Earth using two different radar frequencies. The spacecraft will observe nearly all of Earth’s land and ice surfaces twice every 12 days, measuring movements with finer details than ever.

The probe will survey forests and agricultural regions to help scientists understand carbon exchange between plants and the atmosphere.

Nisar will focus on better analysing natural hazards from small movements building up under the surface of the planet to massive volcanic eruptions. The spacecraft could further help in improved forecasting and mitigation of these hazards.

“NISAR’s global and rapid coverage will provide unprecedented opportunities for disaster response, providing data to assist in mitigating and assessing damage, with observations before and after disasters in short time frames,” Nasa said.

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