NASA Will Launch Satellite Network To Detect Wildfires From Space

Posted: Nov 21 2015, 10:54pm CST | by , Updated: Nov 22 2015, 3:37pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

NASA Will Launch Satellite Network to Detect Wildfires From Space
Credit: NASA Watch

The FireSat sensors will locate wildfires around the globe throughout the day.

Wildfires cause extensive damage to both lives and the economy. Every time a wildfire strikes, it burns a large area, destroys homes, crops and invasive species and costs billions of dollars every year. It all happens too quickly and suddenly before firefighting efforts are made.

Now, NASA is developing a technology that will immediately detect wildfire as soon as it escalates. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is teaming up with San Francisco based company Quadra Pi R2E for creating a network of sensors called FireSat.

FireSat will consist of 200 thermal infrared sensors installed on satellite that will identify wildfire with 15 minutes from the time it ignites and reaches to an area at least 10 to 15 meters wide. Within three minutes of detection, the system will notify it to emergency services and assist them in making timely decisions.

“While many wildfires are reported by 9-1-1 calls soon after ignition, some are not and delays in detection can lead to rapid escalation of fire and dramatic growth of the cost of suppression. The system will work day and night for fires anywhere in the world.”Robert Staehle, lead designer of the system at JPL explains.

The concept of FireSat was first presented in 2011. Staehle and his team worked on the mechanism throughout the subsequent years and now they have all the technology required for developing the system.

“Such a system has only now become feasible at a responsible cost, enabled by advances in commercial microelectronics that NASA, JPL and Universities have tested in space via CubeSat experiments and by software technology originally developed to give Mars rovers and Earth Orbiters more autonomy in their science observations.” Staehle said.

NASA has already some systems and satellites in space for fire detection and for studying wildfires, volcanoes and flooding etc but all these work twice a day, not whole day and only send large images. FireSat, on the other hand, can capture low resolution image of fire once per minute with the exact longitude and latitude of burning location and transmit the information fast and anywhere in the world.

FireSat’s construction is in progress and is expected to start its function by June of 2018. The system will also help locate explosions, oil spills and every other dangerous event which involves high heat around the world.

Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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