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Monday, January 31, 2022

NASA plans to Use Drones to Monitor Active Volcanoes

Am a long time follower of NASA and Volcanism, so very interesting. The activity in Iceland this year and the use of drones for gathering data in Iceland this past year has made it evident of their value.  This is already being generally done, but the involvement of NASA and integrated Satellite data should make it more useful yet. 

NASA plans to use drones to monitor active volcanoes

By Georgina Torbet, January 30, 2022 9:00AM in DigitalTrends

NASA doesn’t only work on space projects: The agency also takes part in Earth-monitoring projects, particularly those related to the climate. Currently, it is working on a plan to use drones to monitor active volcanoes and give warnings of potential eruptions.

NASA is collaborating with the company Black Swift Technologies, which creates highly rugged drones of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) which can withstand the tough environments above volcanoes. “We needed it to be really rugged, to withstand flying in the turbulent conditions and corrosive gases around volcanoes,” said Florian Schwandner, director of the Earth Sciences division at NASA Ames in a statement. “We also developed a gas-sensing payload the UAS could carry to look for signs of volcanic unrest.”

Maciej Stachura of Black Swift Technologies carries the S2 aircraft to its launch site at Dutch Harbor airport in Alaska.

A first version of the UAS was tested for monitoring a volcano in Costa Rica in 2013, and a newer version of the craft has recently been tested with flights at Makushin Volcano in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The drone can fly even when it is out of visual range of the pilots, by using autonomous systems combined with a pre-set flight plan to reach the volcano’s summit. From there, it can collect visual and thermal information on volcanic activity.  .... ' 

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