Narendra Modi US visit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump’s first bilateral meeting is an important landmark for space scientists across India and America. The world’s most expensive Earth-imaging satellite that may be jointly developed by ISRO and NASA awaits a decision that hinges on this meeting between the PM and US president, PTI reported. The problem is the intent of the satellite, which is mapping climate change. However, America’s current administration is full of climate change deniers. Climate change is one issue where India and America differ extensively and would make for an important point of discussion between Trump and Modi. Trump believes climate change is a gimmick by China and he has tweeted posts like these: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Whereas Modi has penned a pictorial book on climate change entitled “Convenient Action: Continuity for Change”.
Trump led US has pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty while India vowed to stick to its commitment. Trump accused India of making “its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries,” PTI reported. On the other hand, Modi had said that not working to eliminate climate change was criminal in nature. There is a dire need of finding a common ground and for Trump to recognize this satellite. Here are 5 things to know about the satellite:
1. Scientists at Pasadena, an LA suburb where the Jet Propulsion Lab is, are working on the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR). Similarly, in Ahmedabad here, at the Space Applications Centre scientists are creating components for the monumental satellite.
2. Together they are making a satellite that would cost over $1.5 billion to both the countries. Paul A Rosen, the project scientist at Pasadena who has been working on the satellite 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.”
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3. The NISAR satellite greatly depends on an understanding that climate is changing due to human intervention. It will be launched from India in 2021 using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Satellite is going to be taking snapshots of the Earth that will provide a time-lapse image of the motion of the tectonic plates, ice sheets, of the changes in vegetation over land in agriculture and forests. This was also revealed by Rosen to PTI.
4. The satellite would account for time variability, the evolution of disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, changes in ice sheets, sea levels, nature of forest fires and forest cover’s effect on the atmosphere.
5. NISAR’s objective resonates with that of NASA’s in that both believe that diminishing glaciers and sea ice over the past hundred years have been indicators of global warming.