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Israeli researchers are partners in a special operation of the American space shuttle 'Endeavour'

 Researchers from Israel's Ben Gurion University are partners in a special operation of the American space shuttle 'Endeavour' to map the Earth's surface using radar

A team of Israeli researchers is participating in an innovative project for topographic mapping of the Earth by the space shuttle Endeavor, which will be launched by the American space agency NASA on November 19 from Florida, and will stay in space for 11 days. This is a project for topographic mapping of the surface of the Earth using radar The country, from a latitude of 60 0 degrees north to 60 0 degrees south, with an innovative method, called interformatria.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, led by Dr. Dan Blumberg, an expert in remote sensing and the use of radar systems for surface mapping and a senior lecturer, will provide ground assistance to the project by placing calibration devices and radar-transponder systems, during the passage of the space shuttle above The Negev region, while analyzing the findings and the results that will be obtained afterwards. The project is carried out in collaboration with the American space agency NASA, the German space agency, DARA and the Italian space agency. ASI

The American space shuttle, under the command of Kevin Kriegel, will fly at an average height of about 202 kilometers above the earth, when a few days after launch it is supposed to reach the Negev region. The project is designed to provide an accurate topographical mapping of the earth's surface, with a very high resolution and maximum accuracy." If they had used the classical methods of measurement, the project could have spread over a long period of time. This project is based on innovative methods, which are assisted by a radar system, and therefore the time frame assigned to the task is only 11 days. There is no doubt that this is one of the most important tasks that the space agencies have ever carried out in mapping the earth's surface", says Dr. Bloomberg.

From the data that will be recorded using the radar, very accurate topographic maps will be produced of areas that have not been mapped so far and that were very difficult to map by other means. "In fact," emphasizes Dr. Bloomberg, "to this day, most deserts in the world are not mapped." According to him, radar has many advantages over other optical means, such as aerial photographs. The radar is able to penetrate into the clouds and does not depend on sunlight, and in fact, it works in all weather conditions. Therefore, with this means it is possible to map areas that are cloudy for most of the year and this is also the reason why it was not possible to map them from the air before. This is the most sophisticated system for carrying out this type of mission, which was partially tested in 1994 when different areas in the Negev were photographed using radar systems. Dr. Bloomberg was then the principal investigator of NASA's radar project in Arizona.

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