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NASA's radar may shift to IIT Kharagpur

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Expertise in radar technology and its successful association with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) over the years may soon make the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, eligible for the partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for a collaborative research. The presence of two scientists from the premier space research agency fanned speculations that IIT-Kharagpur has evolved as the front runner for the coveted tie-up.

NASA may tie up IIT Kharagpur

After the success of Chandrayaan, Mangalayaan and the four year partnership for an oceanic wind measuring radar-Scatterometer, the next year the most talked about futuristic collaborative project would be the NI-SAR (NASA-ISRO Radar Mission). The radar, which is yet to receive final clearance from the respective governments, is one of the most discussed scientific projects with which it promises to pre-empt natural calamities.

IIT Kharagpur's aerospace engineering department, though its high profile Kalpana Chawla Space Research Center, already spearheading crucial radar related research along with ISRO. "Such radar technology inputs can be utilised successfully for NI-SAR related research as well," says Alok Chatterjee, a NASA scientist who is also a 1973 batch alumnus of the institute. He was accompanied by Paul Rosen, his colleague at NASA.

The duo on Monday discussed with PP Chakraborty, the director of the institute, the possibilities of the institute starting a NI-SAR orientation collaboration with ISRO soon. "This will automatically link up the institute with NASA. In the NI-SAR research, there will be radar that will collect data through two bands, the 'L' band that will be managed by ISRO and the 'S' band to be handled by NASA. The will then be shared for final computations to determine tectonic movements of the earth that lead to earthquakes, tidal wave surge, melting glaciers and rise in the sea level. Such research will help in managing disaster to a large extent." Rosen explained.

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