The USGS Volcano Hazards Program and USGS Land Change Science Program are partnering with NASA Ames, industry entities, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to measure gases with small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (sUAS). The USGS is partnering with JPL to measure methane emissions in the thawing Arctic using next-generation gas sensors on small rotorcraft. This effort promises to augment sparse flux towers as a more mobile way to measure emissions. USGS scientists are also partnering with Black Swift Technologies and NASA to develop the ability to measure baseline volcanic gas emissions over remote edifices. They are flying a beyond-visual-line-of-sight UAS mission over Makushin Volcano on Unalaska Island in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in 2021 as proof of concept. NASA Ames has funded a follow-up mission in California.
Small Uncrewed Aircraft System (sUAS) to estimate methane emissions from thawing permafrost. Photo credit: Richard Kolyer, NASA.