Radar tech to be used for terrain mapping

Radar tech to be used for terrain mapping

Know-how would provide all-weather vision to satellites

Radar tech to be used for terrain mapping

The Himalayan region as seen by IRSP4 , that uses optical instruments for imaging. Once the radar technology is ready for use, quality of images will also be enhanced. (Pic source: ISRO website)Pointing out that this will be the first time that such a technology will be used in India, a senior scientist from the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) told Deccan Herald: “Our earlier remote sensing missions relied on optical instruments on the payload which could not create images or monitor areas in all weather conditions as they depended on rays of light that are almost absent in adverse conditions.”

He added that once India has an active radar/microwave system, it would become more efficient in mapping the terrain of the country, creating images during all kinds of weather as it can directly penetrate through the clouds.

Work on this technology has just begun in Ahmedabad. Once ready to use, it will eventually be brought over to Bangalore to be integrated into the satellite, the scientist said, but would not set timeline for the completion of the project. India’s current remote sensing satellite has not completed its span in space and the new technology is being developed with a target of being accommodated in the next mission. The satellite will follow the polar orbit and will be launched on the PSLV platform, the scientist said.

Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves  to identify the altitude, range, direction or speed of fixed and mobile objects. The radar dish/antenna will transmit microwaves pulses which bounce off all objects in their path. The object returns a tiny part of the wave’s energy to a dish or antenna enabling the function.

Besides being useful for mapping of tough terrain, the technology will also be help in identifying objects like guided missiles, spacecrafts, aircrafts, ships, various towers, weather formation etc. It will also help gather critical information on snow that is vital for water source management.

Talking about the applications, he said: “We have rivers like the Bramhaputra and Ganga which are fed by snow. The weather conditions in snow depth areas are generally overcast, which is where this technology will aid us immensely, also this would help us during calamities like floods when conditions are adverse.”

Lack of information during calamities like floods has proven costly to the country several times. But with the radar-based sensing, information could gathered in time, for effective rescue operations, he said..

The new technology, which already exists in developed nations including the US, Japan and Europe, will also have a greater resolution, enhancing the image quality, which in turn will help in better assessment of the received data, the scientist said.