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17 April 2023: Mapping seismic zones in the Himalayas using the NISAR satellite


NISAR, a satellite being developed by NASA and India’s ISRO, will map the Himalayas’ earthquake-prone areas with unprecedented regularity.

  • The information that this will produce may be used to identify areas that are most vulnerable to earthquakes as well as provide potential early warning of ground subsidence, as was recently shown in Joshimath, Uttarakhand.
  • The satellite will photograph the seismically active Himalayan region using two frequency bands and produce a “deformation map” every 12 days to provide early warning of land subsidence and areas that are most vulnerable to earthquakes.
  • The satellite, which is anticipated to be launched in January 2024 and would likely follow a sun-synchronous orbit, will use these two frequency bands to provide high-resolution, all-weather data.

Satellite NISAR

  • About: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are working together to create NISAR, an Earth observation satellite.
  • NASA and ISRO had the idea in 2014, which was eight years ago.
  • At least three years will pass before the satellite stops working. It is an observatory in low Earth orbit (LEO). In 12 days, NISAR will map the entire world.
  • Benefits:
    • Faster response times and more accurate risk assessments will be made possible by the mission’s provision of vital information to aid in managing natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
    • It will contribute to our growing understanding of Earth system processes and climate change by providing a plethora of data and information regarding changes to the Earth’s surface, natural disasters, and ecosystem disturbances.
    • By providing data on crop growth, soil moisture, and land-use changes, NISAR data will be utilized to enhance agriculture management and food security.