IIT Madras designs satellite to predict earthquakes

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satelliteIITMSAT, the  first satellite of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, will attempt to study radiation belts on Earth and help in predicting earthquakes. It is the largest among all the satellites developed by the IITs till now.

The satellite is being designed under the aegis of the IIT Madras Student Satellite Project. The project had been initiated by a group of students “who were inspired to learn beyond the boundaries of their classrooms”. They are being fostered by members of faculty from various departments of IIT Madras. The project’s scientific goal is to study the energy spectrum of charged particles in the upper ionosphere and understand the effects of solar storms, lightning storms and seismic activity.

With a unique particle detector design, which aim’s to measure the energies of particles with almost relativistic velocities, the project aims to demonstrate cost-effective development of a nano-satellite constellation capable of making simultaneous particle measurements in the future.

To get the technicalities right, the project team has collaborated with ISRO (Bangalore), TIFR (Mumbai) and IGCAR (Kalpakkam). The team members had the opportunity to work in these laboratories through their summer break. Working in such high-end laboratories with expensive and rare equipment specialised for nuclear instrumentation was the highlight of the project, said team members.

Talking to The Hindu, Varsha Subramanyan, a third-year undergraduate of the electrical engineering department and a part of the team said,“It is not too often that a second-year undergraduate student gets to hold integrated circuits that cost over Rs. 1 lakh or handle radioactive sources”.

The satellite is expected to be launched in 2015.

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