NASA sensor helps U.S. Forest Service study wildfires

By on April 15, 2013
Black carbon from the High Park Fire will be studied by Colorado State University (Credit: NASA)

Scientists from NASA and the U.S. Forest Service have mounted a scanning spectrometer to a Cessna Citation airplane, according to a NASA release. The USFS plans to use the sensor for taking measurements and in operational fire imaging.

The spectrometer detects hot spots, active fires, smoldering and post-fire conditions. It was developed by NASA’s Airborne Sciences Program and can take high-resolution photos of Earth’s features. Modifications have allowed the sensor to fly on different crafts, including remotely piloted drones.

The sensor flew on test flights between 2006 and 2010 to make sure it was ready for the operations. USFS plans to use it daily over wildfires throughout the U.S. and to support efforts in water and river mapping.

Image: Smoke from the High Park Fire in Colorado (Credit: NASA)

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