NASA And ISRO Team Up To Make World's Most Expensive Earth Monitoring Satellite ‘NISAR’

First Posted: May 25, 2017 05:33 AM EDT

American space agency NASA and Indian space agency ISRO have joined hands to make a satellite that will help scientists monitor the planet. The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite is going to be the first big collaboration between the two organizations.

According to The Economic Times, NISAR is scheduled for a 2021 launch from India. It will be launched with the help of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

“This is two frequency RADAR, it is an L-band 24 centimeter RADAR and S-band 13 centimeter. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA,” NISAR satellite project scientist Paul A. Rosen said, as NDTV reported. “It is a major collaboration both in terms of the technical building of the satellite as well as working together across the Pacific between US and India.”

Estimated to cost the two nations over US$1.5 billion, the satellite will capture weekly images of the Earth and will provide time-lapse photos of the changes in vegetation over land in forests and agriculture and the motion of ice sheets and tectonic plates. NISAR will also observe and take measurements of the planet’s complex processes such as cracks in polar ice sheets, ecosystem disturbances and other natural hazards. Furthermore, one of the other goals of the mission will be to observe the planet to establish a general pathway for joint missions in the future for Mars exploration.

The satellite will help in looking at time variability of Earth to know how disasters like volcanoes and earthquakes occur, among others. The mission will study how ice sheets are going through a change, subsequently impacting sea-level rise. According to Rosen, the mission’s purpose is quite relevant to what society cares about, which includes changes in the environment and climate and how it affects the planet and its inhabitants.

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