NASA and ISRO have been increasingly working together over the last couple of years and this collaboration led to happy surprise when NISAR – the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite – was announced.

Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi is going to visit Donald Trump today during his visit to the US and the scientific community has its eyes pinned on what the two leaders will be talking about and will it have any major implications on the future of NASA ISRO relations in general and NISAR satellite in particular. NISAR is a joint venture by NASA and ISRO and is being touted as the world’s most expensive earth-imaging satellite till date.

US and India sing in chorus on many topics, but climate change is one that doesn’t really strike the chord for Donald Trump. With Trump’s views on the phenomenon and his recent remarks on India with regard to the Paris climate deal, it is highly likely that climate change would be a point that would figure in the Trump-Modi discussions.

Recently, the US walked out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty while India continues to honour its commitments. Trump calls climate change a hoax created by China by adhering to his views that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”. On the other hand, Modi has penned a pictorial book – “Convenient Action: Continuity for Change” – that compiles his actions and beliefs on climate change.

The climate change differences could have ripple effect on other discussions and that’s what is worrying scientists at Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles where at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory work has begun in full earnest to realise NISAR. Scientists at the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad are also anxious as they go about fabricating unique components for the massive satellite.

Together Indian and American scientists are making what is possibly the world’s most expensive earth imaging satellite that will cost the countries over USD 1.5 billion.

If all goes on well, the NISAR satellite will be launched in 2021 from India using the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).