Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine April 2017 - 47
I make it a priority to keep lecturing and teaching to encourage
myself to invest the time and continuously improve my
understanding of the material and my ability to communicate it
outside my own field...It is a great exercise in learning what works
and doesn't work...
Paul: I cannot predict the future, but it seems to me that
for Earth, everyone wants fast repeat observations. Commercial users want to see the changes people are making to Earth
frequently and at high resolution. They usually don't need full
global coverage, but they need global access and they want to
sell the data to make a profit. Therefore, there will be an abundance of specialized systems that make these high-resolution targeted observations. You can see a range of companies proposing
these systems already. It is not clear if there is a market, but if
the future holds cheap-enough space systems, perhaps they will
develop. For scientists, these data will be useful for many problems, and it is conceivable that their sponsors will buy the data
for them. There is also a trend-started with Sentinel-1A/B-for
global observations at moderate resolution but also with fast repeat. I believe there will continue to be a demand for these data
for multidecade time series, and nations will partner on, and/or
trade off development of these systems-which tend to be expensive-to affordably make these observations. This requires a free
and open data policy.
For planetary science, there are many proposals and missions in the works. Sounders will be sent to the Galilean satellites in the next decade. Researchers want to go back to Venus
to measure the topography with InSAR at finer resolution than
Magellan could (Figure 6). A long-wavelength imaging radar
sent to Mars to image the subsurface would reveal much about
the geomorphology of the planet. As technology becomes more
affordable and onboard digital processing becomes more commonplace, radars similar to those we fly around Earth should
become more practical.
Riccardo: Finally, can you give me an event of your working
life that you would like to be remembered?
Paul: One thing I often look back on fondly is a talk I gave
at IGARSS in 2000, right after the SRTM mission had flown and
we had initial results. Everyone was very excited, and my talk
was scheduled back to back with a colleague from DLR [German Space Agency], Michael Eineder, who was working on
the X-band data. We were talking before the session about the
contents of our talks, and it occurred to us that it might be fun
to use our two time slots to deliver our talks together. Having
constructed our talks completely independently, we discovered
that they were highly parallel in structure and content-mine
focusing on C-band results, his on X-band-so we decided to
alternate viewgraphs (at the time still plastic sheets): first me,
then Michael, then me, and so on. It worked very well and was
really fun and memorable. The audience really enjoyed the show,
and we created a more powerful presentation emphasizing our
technical collaboration through our collaborative presentation.
It illustrated for me the importance of international partnerships
and how much more enjoyable and productive life can be when
we work together.
Riccardo: Thank you Paul. I am convinced that your story can
be of inspiration for many young radar engineers.
IEEE A&E SYSTEMS MAGAZINE