In a unique collaboration between national space agencies, the United States and Japan began combining elements of their satellite resources on Monday to increase a critical type of Earth observation data. The partnership will more than double the quantity of this data that is used to explore earthquake hazards, forest declines, and changing water resources in the Americas.
This new partnership between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, known as JAXA, uses NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System to download observations over North and South America taken by instruments on JAXA's Advanced Land Observing Satellite, or ALOS. By combining NASA and JAXA data-relay satellite resources, coverage of North and South America nearly doubles. Observations will be made about twice as often.
Under the new agreement with JAXA, NASA will have access to all the ALOS data acquired over the Americas and can make it available to scientists affiliated with U.S. government agencies for peaceful scientific purposes. The Alaska Satellite Facility, a NASA data center located at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, will process and distribute the PALSAR data.
"The expanded ALOS data flow will significantly improve our scientists' ability to monitor regions at risk to earthquake hazards, such as Haiti and Chile," said Craig Dobson, natural hazards program manager in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters. "Now we will be able to see very small changes in surface elevation associated with the build-up and release of strain in seismic zones over virtually the entire area of the Americas, with measurements made as often as every 46 days. Scientists also will be able to monitor seasonal changes in groundwater resources."
For more information please visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/apr/HQ_10-079_NASA-JAXA.html