NISAR: Watching the Earth Move Under Our Feet
The joint U.S.-Indian NISAR satellite mission will use radar to observe a wide range of Earth processes, from the flow rates of glaciers and ice sheets to the dynamics of earthquakes and volcanos. NISAR can image Earth’s land masses at night and through clouds and will allow scientists to see places that have otherwise been obscured.
Despite the challenges of working during the Coronavirus pandemic, the science and engineering teams on both sides of the pond are determined to meet their mission objectives.
The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite mission NISAR is scheduled to launch no earlier than 2022 from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
For up-to-date information on the NISAR mission and launch please visit nisar.jpl.nasa.gov.
Guys, guys, I need you to be quiet though, in the other room.
Okay, got it.
Okay, we're doing it.
Pretty much anything that you can observe on the land and coast and sometimes even in the ocean, NISAR will have an application. Very exciting mission, generating an enormous amount of data that will keep the science community and the applications community busy for a long time.
NISAR is a partnership mission between NASA and ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organization. It's a collaborative project.
And we'll be collecting data for all around the whole earth for all of the landmasses.
Looking at volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, other natural hazards that occur in the crust of the earth.
And movement of sea ice, movement of glaciers, how much forest land is growing or being reduced.
Because it can image at night and through clouds, it can allow us to see through storms.
It's really gonna allow us to see things changing in areas where we can't with other satellites.
NISAR is going to open our eyes to the potential of this technique for seeing the ground in places that otherwise has been obscured.
So every 12 days we will map the landmasses and then we can take those mappings and we can compare them. We can do what we call interferometry.
Where we can take an image acquired on one day and combine it with an image acquired 12 days later, from that same vantage point, looking at the same point on the ground. And when we do that, we can see the motion of the ground down to a fraction of the radar wavelength, which in this case is on the order of a few millimeters.
NISAR has two radars on it. Two synthetic aperture radars, one is an L-band and the other is an S-band.
So it's kind of the Tesla or the Maserati of radars, whichever you think is cooler I guess.
This here's the radar payload, that is the spacecraft bus, large 12 meter reflector common in Tennessee system for both L-band and S-band to send out the RF signal and capture the return signal.
How are you today?
I am fine.
The pandemic is something that we were not counting on when we developed this project.
The NISAR Project was actually pretty well versed with this remote operations because of the Indian engagement.
It was a little bit of a WebEx fatigue, but I think we're learning how to do it better now.
But yeah, we're all in great spirits and we will take a little hit to the schedule, but we've been waiting a long time for this mission and we wanna do it right.
We want the hardware to work. And we want the science to be done.
One of the best things we can do to increase diversity in the sciences is to make it easier for people to enter the sciences.
The data is gonna be freely available to everybody, We aren't gonna have to pay for it like we do with some satellites.
So making the data free, having it easy to download to your own machine, all of that stuff is critical if we want to remove those barriers to entry to the field.
I'm looking forward to the sense of discovery that I think we're going to have when NISAR data start coming down.
All science is incredibly important to understand what's going on in the name of what our children and grandchildren are gonna have to face in the future. And all the information we collect now is only gonna help them understand that better and hopefully make their lives better.
Digital, electronic subsystem cognizant...
There it goes my son...
You know, the radar will, um...
I can't recall... there we go.
That's our real life here in 2020.