Mini NASA Methane Sensor Makes Successful Flight Test

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A JPL mini methane gas sensor is moody tested on a tiny unmanned aerial complement (sUAS) underneath a plan to urge appetite tube attention safety. The sensor enables methane showing with aloft attraction than formerly accessible for a attention in hand-carried or sUAS-deployable instruments.Credit: University of California, Merced

A JPL mini methane gas sensor is moody tested on a tiny unmanned aerial complement (sUAS) underneath a plan to urge appetite tube attention safety. The sensor enables methane showing with aloft attraction than formerly accessible for a attention in hand-carried or sUAS-deployable instruments.Credit: University of California, Merced

As partial of a plan to urge reserve in a appetite tube industry, researchers have successfully flight-tested a tiny methane gas sensor grown by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, on a Vertical Take-off and Landing tiny unmanned aerial complement (sUAS). The sensor, identical to one grown by JPL for use on Mars, enables showing of methane with most aloft attraction than formerly accessible for a attention in hand-carried or sUAS-deployable instruments.

The tests were conducted in executive California during a Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve, and were saved by Pipeline Research Council International (PRCI). The jointly conducted exam of NASA’s Open Path Laser Spectrometer (OPLS) sensor is a latest bid in a methane contrast and proof module conducted on several platforms given 2014. The ability of a OPLS sensor to detect methane in tools per billion by volume could assistance a tube attention some-more accurately pinpoint tiny methane leaks.

Researchers from JPL and a Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation (MESA) Lab during a University of California, Merced, conducted a moody tests in late February. They flew a tiny unmanned aerial complement versed with a OPLS sensor during several distances from methane-emitting gas sources. Tests were finished in a tranquil environment to exam a correctness and robustness of a system.

The modernized capabilities supposing by sUASs, quite extended straight access, could extend a use of methane-inspection systems for detecting and locating methane gas sources.

Additional moody contrast this year will underline a fixed-wing UAS, that can fly longer and farther. Those capabilities are required for monitoring natural-gas delivery tube systems, that are mostly hundreds of miles prolonged and can be located in farming or remote areas.

This latest turn of tests furthers a team’s idea to rise sUASs to urge normal investigation methods for natural-gas tube networks, that might raise reserve and urge plcae accuracy.

“These tests symbol a latest section in a growth of what we trust will eventually be a concept methane monitoring complement for detecting refugee natural-gas emissions and contributing to studies of meridian change,” pronounced Lance Christensen, OPLS principal questioner during JPL.

NASA uses a vantage indicate of space to boost a bargain of a home planet, urge lives, and guarantee a future. NASA develops new ways to observe and investigate Earth’s companion healthy systems with long-term information records. The group openly shares this singular believe and works with institutions around a universe to benefit new insights into how a universe is changing.

Source: JPL