NISAR satellite to map Himalayas’ seismic zones


NISAR, a forthcoming satellite created jointly by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States, will map the most earthquake-prone regions of the Himalayas with remarkable regularity. The data generated by this can potentially provide a warning of land subsidence, as recently reported in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, as well as highlight areas most vulnerable to earthquakes.

Points to Ponder:

  • The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission is a NASA-ISRO collaboration to build and launch a dual-frequency synthetic aperture radar on an Earth observation satellite. 
  • The satellite will be the first to utilize multiple frequencies for radar imaging. It will be utilized for remote sensing, which will allow scientists to watch and comprehend natural processes on Earth. 
  • The NISAR satellite is a collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • The satellite is scheduled to launch in January 2024 and is predicted to cost over $900 million (with ISRO providing roughly one-tenth).
  • NISAR will map the seismically active Himalayan region using two frequency bands, the L-band, and the S-band.
  • The satellite will produce a “deformation map” every 12 days, delivering high-resolution, all-weather data that will allow the geoscience community to evaluate how strain is building up in various sections of the Himalayas.
  • NISAR data has the potential to provide early warning of land subsidence and indicate areas most vulnerable to earthquakes.
  • The frequency with which observations are taken, as well as the sharpness of the photographs, are crucial for researching land deformation.
  • The ability of NISAR to give photos even in hazy situations, as well as its 12-day periodicity, makes it a powerful instrument for researching deformation trends in the Himalayas.
  • The NISAR satellite is seen as a game-changer in earth-science observation since it will give high-quality data on the earthquake-prone Himalayan region.
  • The NISAR data will enhance current strain maps of the Himalayas based on GPS station data, providing a more comprehensive image of the region.
  • Overall, the NISAR satellite’s mission is to offer vital information to the geoscience community and potentially aid in disaster preparedness and response operations in the Himalayan region.