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Joint mission with India studied as NASA seeks Earth science savings

31 December 2013

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Seven years after an independent review board cited the importance of two ambitious Earth science missions, NASA officials are investigating ways to perform scaled-back versions of the original projects that fit within current budget projections.

NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are conducting a study to determine the feasibility of launching a spacecraft equipped with L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radars to observe a variety of phenomena, including changes in global vegetation, wetlands, coastlines and soil moisture. If the project proceeds, it would be the first satellite built jointly by NASA and ISRO, NASA spokesman Stephen Cole said.

The proposed NASA-ISRO mission would meet nearly all of the important scientific objectives of the radar portion of the Deformation, Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI) mission, which was cited in the National Research Council's 2007 Earth science decadal survey as a top priority, Cole said by email. Unlike the proposed DESDynI mission, the NASA-ISRO satellite would not include a lidar to gather data on tree canopies, ground topography and global vegetation. Some of that information, however, may be provided by the lidar NASA plans to fly on its ICESat-2 mission scheduled for launch in 2016, NASA officials said.

Source: Space News

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