How NASA is helping in rescue operations in earthquake-hit Turkey and Syria
Turkey-Syria earthquake: The US space agency’s administrator Bill Nelson said the teams of experts are working hard to provide valuable information from the Earth-observing fleet to the rescue workers. NASA is using its synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which can watch the earth in all weather conditions day and night.
This satellite image obtained, courtesy of Planet Labs, Inc. shows a SkySat image captured on February 7, showing the city of Kahramanmaras after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Turkey earlier in the week. (AFP)Follow Us.
The US space agency’s administrator Bill Nelson said the teams of experts are working hard to provide valuable information from the Earth-observing fleet to the rescue workers. NASA is using its synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which can watch the earth in all weather conditions day and night. It is used to measure how the ground moves and built landscape changes after an earthquake, the agency posted on its website.
A team of scientists at the Earth Observatory of Singapore and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory collected images before and after the earthquake and created a ‘damage proxy map’ for Turkey.
These proxy maps compare before and after radar images of the earthquake to see how the landscape changed after the devastating tragedy. The agency’s Earth Science Applied Sciences, national and international collaborates make these proxy maps available to the US State Department, the California Seismic Safety Commission, the World Bank and the Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief.The NASA members not only provide observations and maps through the Disaster Mapping Portal, they are also involved in coordination calls by the US Agency for International Development.NASA’s disaster coordinator for Turkey-Syria earthquake Lori Schulz said the agency does not know who uses the information disseminated by the agency, but they have heard the World Central Kitchen has used the information to provide food to the people displaced. The NASA scientists are using space and ground-based observations to improve ability to decode the events arising from the natural disaster.
The scientists use data from the Commercial SmallSat Data Acquisition programme, which uses data from commercial satellites to help NASA with its research goals. They can spot areas which might be prone to heightened landslide risks.According to NASA, the scientists hope to add a new tool to assess aftermath of the quake. Launched to the International Space Station in 2022, the Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) can assess methane emissions as part of the observations of the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Its observation times are dictated by the ISS orbit. However, while passing over the earthquake sites, the measurements of new emissions could point to events which are not otherwise easily spotted from the space.
NASA Disaster Program manager Shanna McClain said the agency’s relief efforts include tracking disasters such as natural hazard-triggered technological disasters such as damaged infrastructure and pipeline bursts which it wants to identify quickly to save the lives of people nearby. As per the website report, the EMIT’s ability to help with such efforts are under evaluation.