NASA's flying methane meter constructed for Mars finds work on Earth

NASA's flying methane meter built for Mars finds work on Earth

Simply as new army applied sciences typically trickle right down to civilian makes use of, a excessive-tech methane detector initially developed to detect gases on Mars has discovered a brand new position right here on Earth. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab constructed the the Open Path Laser Spectrometer (OPLS) and have affixed it to a regular quadcopter. And provided that greenhouse fuel emissions are at present at a 30-yr excessive, in accordance with the UN, this pipeline inspector cannot come quickly sufficient.

A staff of JPL researchers teamed with UC Merced’s Mechatronics, Embedded Techniques and Automation (MESA) Lab carried out preliminary flight checks of the airborne, fuel-sniffing system in late February. These exams concerned flying the sensor rig previous methane-crammed containers at particular distances to gauge the system’s accuracy. Nevertheless, even from the sky, NASA discovered its methane meter to be extra correct than the present era of handheld (or wearable) meters employed by business inspectors.

“These exams mark the newest chapter within the improvement of what we consider will ultimately be a common methane monitoring system for detecting fugitive pure-fuel emissions and contributing to research of local weather change,” Lance Christensen, OPLS principal investigator at JPL, stated in a press release.

Ought to the system get the go forward from regulators, it might considerably scale back the quantity of effort wanted to examine America’s 300,000-odd miles of pure fuel pipelines, to not point out cattle and hog farms, wastewater remedy amenities and different greenhouse fuel hotspots.