The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has partnered with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to “design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes”.
The Earth System Observatory will be a collection of many satellites that will produce a 3D view of the Earth- from the bedrock to the atmosphere.
NASA said in a statement that the observatory follows recommendations from the 2017 Earth Science Decadal Survey by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which lays out ambitious but critically necessary research and observation guidance.
The Earth System Observatory is still in the formulation stage. NASA’s partnership with ISRO is one of the first integrated parts of the mission. ISRO will provide two radar systems that are capable of detecting changes in the Earth’s surface that are even less than half an inch! This radar will be used in one of NASA’s first missions and has been dubbed as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)
Areas of Focus of the Earth System Observatory:
The system will find answers to how aerosols affect global energy balance, air quality forecasting, prediction of weather, etc. They will also provide drought assessment and forecasting, associated planning for water use in agriculture, understanding impact of climate change on agriculture, habitation, landscape and natural resources.
NASA said in a statement that the mission will measure some of the planet’s most complex processes such as ice-sheet collapse and natural hazards like earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides etc.