In-situ sensors near volcanoes would be alerted by the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) craft to take more frequent data readings. This project involves developing a sulfur-dioxide-sensing volcano monitor that will be able to transmit its readings through an Iridium modem. The monitor, when integrated into the Sensor Web network, will demonstrate the autonomous capabilities of the Sensor Web, as well as the speed and accuracy of the network. A potential scenario might involve an Earth-based sensor near the volcano, such as a tilt meter or a seismometer, encountering a critical reading. This particular sensor could alert EO-1, which could then look for other sensors in the area. It would then send an alert message down to the Volcano Monitoring Box, which would increase the frequency of its readings from once an hour to once a minute. All these data would then be collected on a Web site that is accessible by volcanologists and other scientists. A typical data reading will include a date, time, temperature reading, humidity reading, and sulfur dioxide reading.

By using the speed and ease with which EO-1 transmits data, information about volcanic activity can be collected quickly and autonomously. In better understanding the volcanoes of Earth, this technology will enable better study and understanding of volcanoes on other moons and planets as NASA sends unmanned vehicles to farther regions of space.

This work was done by Kate Boudreau of University of Idaho, Johanna Cecava of New Mexico State University, and Alberto Behar, Ashley Davies, and Daniel Q. Tran of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-45445

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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