NISAR, a satellite being developed between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organization, will launch soon. The satellite will measure some of the Earth’s key vital signs, such as health of wetlands. In addition to that, it will also measure ground deformation by val cones to the dynamics of land and sea ice.
NISAR stands for NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, which will provide the most comprehensive picture to date of motion and deformation of frozen surfaces.
“Our planet has the thermostat set on high, and Earth’s ice is responding by speeding up its motion and melting faster. We need to better understand the processes at play, and NISAR will provide measurements to do that.”Alex Gardner, a glaciologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.’
The satellite will be launched in 2024, from Southern India. It has two different radars on it: an L-band system with a 10-inch wavelength, and a S-band with a 4-inch wavelength.
The L-band can see through snow, which will help scientists track the motion of ice underneath. The S-band is sensitive to snow moisture, which indicates melting. According to NASA, both these signals can penetrate clouds and darkness, enabling observations during monthslong winter nights.
Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech