- India’s ISRO and NASA are jointly developing a satellite called NISAR that will map the most earthquake-prone regions in the Himalayas with unprecedented regularity.
- The data this will generate can potentially give advance warning of land subsidence, as recently observed in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, as well point to places that are at greatest risk from earthquakes.
- The satellite will use two frequency bands to image the seismically active Himalayan region and every 12 days, create a “deformation map” to give advance warning of land subsidence and places that are at greatest risk from earthquakes.
- These two frequency bands will together provide high-resolution, all-weather data from the satellite that is expected to follow a sun-synchronous orbit and will be launched in January 2024.
- NISAR is an Earth-observation satellite, being jointly developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- It was envisioned by NASA and ISRO eight years ago in 2014.
- The satellite will operate for a minimum of three years. It is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory. NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days.
- The mission will provide critical information to help manage natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, enabling faster response times and better risk assessments.
- It will provide a wealth of data and information about the Earth’s surface changes, natural hazards, and ecosystem disturbances, helping to advance our understanding of Earth system processes and climate change.
- NISAR data will be used to improve agriculture management and food security by providing information about crop growth, soil moisture, and land-use changes.