NASA has launched a new prototype device that will hopefully help predict volcanic eruptions. Weighing in at just 13 pounds, the device will be the smallest space-based device – with the highest resolution – dedicated to observing gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, the epicenter of volcanic activity. May be NASA announced. Tuesday.
The device is still just a prototype, but NASA plans to deploy the crappy device, which launched a recent re-supply mission to the International Space Station in May 2022. Named “Nanosat Atmospheric Chemistry Hyperspectral Observation System” or NACHOS. NASA said that it should be able to detect gases in small areas up to 15 square miles, which is about the size of the Mall of America.
“A dormant volcano that just wakes up could erupt. [sulfur dioxide] Before there is any recognizable earthquake activity. This gives us the opportunity to identify the potential eruption of the erupting volcano before it actually erupts, “said Steve Lowe, a researcher at the Space and Remote Sensing Group at the Energy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. Said in a NASA press release.
NASA researchers hope that NACHOS will do more than predict the eruption of the volcano. The agency said it intends to use the device to monitor air quality in cities and neighborhoods and even around individual power plants.
“Once we recognize that these gases are present and can localize our resources on a sub-kilometer scale, we have the opportunity to take action and reduce the negative health consequences,” Mohabbat said.
The size of NACHOS makes it much cheaper and smaller than the satellites used to observe trace gases.
“There are excellent tools in the field of data collection on trace gases in the atmosphere,” Mohabbat said, “but their production and maintenance are expensive.”
NACHOS is just about the size of a football – making it a pint-sized powerhouse.
“More power and less weight separates NACHOS and makes it a better candidate for future trace gas missions,” Love said.
NACHOS will be aboard Northrop Grumman’s Science spacecraft, which was launched. February 19By May, when the spacecraft will return to Earth from the ISS. NACHOS will be placed in the Earth’s orbit before the craft re-enters the atmosphere.
NACHOS is expected to remain in orbit for about a year, when it will be replaced by another device.