NISAR, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite project, awaits verdict as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to meet and discuss the satellite with US President Donald Trump. The conversations between the two leaders will decide the future of NISAR with multiple scientists and space researchers awaiting the verdict on the same. NASA and ISRO have been working closely together on multiple projects and this is the largest, and the most ambitious of all the plans. Also Read - NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter uses same chip as Samsung Galaxy S5, OnePlus OneAlso Read - Starlink satellite broadband service faces challenge in India, Elon Musk led company questioned
NISAR also holds the distinction of being the most expensive satellite created for Earth Imaging to date. As the name suggests, NISAR is a dual frequency synthetic aperture radar satellite. The first phase of the satellite manufacturing has already kicked off in Pasadena, a US suburb. The satellite is expected to be launched in 2021, if all goes according to plan and will track the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates and other geographical data to aid climate change studies further. It is hoped that the satellite will give in-depth knowledge of climate change and also study the Earth in detail which no study has achieved so far.
The cost of the satellite is nearly $1.5 billion and stalling the plans will cause heavy losses to both US and India. If all goes as planned, the satellite will be launched from India in 2021. NASA and ISRO have collaborated on many projects in the past with US and India sharing similar views on many technological developments. However, with the new Trump government, there runs a slight discord between the two when it comes to support and alliance for climate change. While Modi has staunchly supported the cause, the Trump government continues to mock climate change. ALSO READ: ISRO crosses double century mark in launching foreign satellites
President Trump has walked out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty, and called climate change a hoax created specially by China. In his words, “The concept of global warming was created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” He has also eased the environment protection laws in the US, giving manufacturers more leeway in the country.
The entire satellite project depends on the attitude and perception towards climate change, something the Trump government refuses to accept. If the government’s stand stays the same, the entire project could get shelved. NISAR satellite, which will be launched using Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will not only map geographical changes, but will also help in predicting and preventing natural disasters like earthquakes, rising sea levels, forest fires, and more.
Paul A Rosen, the roject scientist at Pasadena for NISAR said, “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 cm. S-band is being built by ISRO and L-band by NASA.” He also added, “Once it is in orbit, the $1.5 billion satellite is expected to provide data that lies at the heart of climate change motion of the tectonic plates, of the ice sheets, of the changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests.”