Volume 5, Number 2 March/April 1997
ASA SCIENTISTS ARE DEVELOPING a variety of airborne and spaceborne remote-sensing tools to study potentially dangerous volcanoes. These scientists have created computer visualization products, such as three-dimensional flyover video animation clips, that help study volcanic changes.
Using information collected with Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR), Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AIRSAR), the Airborne Emission Spectrometer (AES), the Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS), the airborne Laser Altimeter Facility and the Shuttle Laser Altimeter, the scientists are able to map the changes. Six domestic volcanoes are being studied: Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier in Washington, Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak in California and Kilauea and Mauna Loa in Hawaii.
|NASA scientists are developing remote-sensing tools that can map the changes in potentially dangerous volcanoes. A NASA imaging system aboard a DC-8 aircraft obtained this 3-D image of the eruption of the volcanic island of Manam, New Guinea.|
Dr. Jeffrey Plaut, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said, "Imaging radar is a particularly useful tool for studying volcanoes because the radar is able to see through the weather and volcanic clouds. It's a good tool for mapping new volcanic deposits because of the radar's sensitivity to texture such as ash and different types of lava flows."
Dr. James Garvin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said, "By combining the radar data with information from scanning laser altimeters, we are now tracking changes at the summits of Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier that will document the impact of erosion, climate and other factors on the topography and stability of large volcanoes."
In recent months, AIRSAR, AES and TIMS were aboard a NASA DC-8 that captured images of the New Guinea Manam volcano within hours of an eruption. "The airborne instruments help us map the topography from safe distance," said Ellen O'Leary, AIRSAR science coordinator at JPL.
JPL's Digital Image Animation Laboratory (DIAL) turns the scientific data into three-dimensional video animation and other images. DIAL is best known for visualizations of planetary data sets of Venus and Mars.
AIRSAR uses three radar wavelengths and can collect data in both vertical and horizontal polarization. AIRSAR can collect three-dimensional topographical data in its TOPSAR mode to create digital elevation models. TIMS collects image data in the thermal infrared portion of the spectrum and operates at six channels between 8 and 12 micrometers.
For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Plaut at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Call 818/393-3799,Fax 818/354-0966, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact Dr.Vincent Realmuto at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Call 818/354-1824,Fax 818/393-6962, E-mail: email@example.com
Please mention you read about it in Innovation.