NISAR Project: A major earth satellite is all ready to help people know more about climate change and help with disaster management. In a release, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says that the satellite will be equipped with the largest reflector antenna, space agency has ever launched. The project called NISAR, a joint mission between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has huge goals regarding studying climate change.
The SUV-size Earth satellite is expected to track subtle changes going on in the Earth’s surface. The satellite will provide spot warning signs of volcanic eruptions along with monitoring groundwater supplies. It will also be tracking the melting rate of ice sheets and its impact on the sea level rise. The Earth satellite will also be observing shifts in the distribution of vegetation across countries. According to NASA, these kinds of changes have not been monitored for the entire globe and with NISAR, NASA is aiming to tap this field with the help of ISRO.
It is to note that the spacecraft will be having two kinds of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that will help monitor and measure the above mentioned changes. Since this mission is being carried out by two space agencies, the name has been kept NISAR- short for NASA-ISRO SAR. The release noted that the satellite will be using a wire mesh radar reflector antenna which has a diameter of nearly 40 feet (12 meters) upon a 30-foot-long (9-meter-long) boom. This antenna will allow the satellite to send or receive radar signals from Earth’s surface or send. It is just like how weather radars work when they bounce signals off of raindrops in order to track storms.
NISAR project scientist Paul Rosen said that the project will let scientists have an “unprecedented ability” to understand how changes are taking place on the Earth’s surface. Rosen added that many scientists have been waiting for this kind of consistency and measurement reliability to know the crucial driving factors of Earth’s natural systems. It will also be of a great deal to those who look at natural hazards and disasters like landslides or volcanoes.
Over the next few weeks, engineers and technicians will be performing a health check on the radar before the satellite is ready to roll.