Using Satellites and Aircraft to Find Faults and Other Hazards

 

Commission Grantee Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL)

JPL Uses NASA Technology to Map Earthquake Faults from Space

 

JPL, a research facility of NASA operated by Caltech, has been working with the California Seismic Safety Commission to identify NASA technologies that can be used to increase monitoring, safety, and recovery from earthquakes. One of the key sets of technologies is to use aerial radar imaging of Earth, from satellite and aircraft, to help understand and respond to major earthquakes. The JPL report identifies several areas where their technology can help the people of California.

Space-based imaging uses satellites with multiple kinds of radars to map the Earth. A specific kind of radar, called Synthetic Aperture Radar or SAR, can measure the height of the ground and using multiple before and after passes, and identify where there has been earth movement and how much. Space-based SAR can cover a 100km-wide band, and quickly. Once identified from space, airborne SAR, with higher resolution and ease of deployment relative to the satellite based systems, can then take measurements of target areas identified by the satellites to help responders know where faults have slipped and identify potential issues.

This technology has been used several times in recent years, assisting in the Napa response and La Habra earthquakes. JPL and Caltech developed and are enhancing the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) Center for Natural Hazards and it was this center that provided the data after the Napa earthquake in 2014. The Center is now active and providing rapid response data to the user community.  The quote below, from the Director of the AEM in Mexico, reflects the impact of ARIA’s work after the 2017 earthquakes in Mexico.

“Your valuable contribution through NASA Earth Science Disasters Program, made it possible – in collaboration with other governments of Mexico – to take the appropriate decisions for mapping damage, rescuing and eventually recovery of the damage, as well as to address and inform to the population about the affected zones and the areas prone to further risk.” Francisco Javier Mendieta Jimenez, Director, AEM After the M7.1 Central Mexico Earthquake

 

Early Detection of Post Earthquake Gas Leaks Using Airborne and Space Technologies

 

Commission Grantee Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL)

JPL Uses NASA Technology to Locate Methane Release from Space

 

JPL, a research facility of NASA operated by CalTech, has been working with the California Seismic Safety Commission to identify NASA technologies that can be used to increase monitoring, safety, and recovery from earthquakes. After an earthquake there is a high risk of fire. The most damage that occurred in San Francisco in 1906 was due to the fire, not the shaking (and many residents still refer to it as the great fire of 1906). Today the risk of rupture of major natural gas distribution lines and pipelines during an earthquake is of great concern. Early detection of gas releases from sources underneath the ground is difficult on a wide scale. But JPL has used the Hyperion spectrometer on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) to identify gas releases from space. The leaks can then be confirmed by aircraft-flown sensors for more precise identification.  Early detection of gas leaks will reduce the number of post-earthquake ignitions.

Quickly identifying a gas leak from space can help ground personnel know where to close off pipelines, or if need be, evacuate people before a major fire or explosion following an earthquake.

Finding People in Collapsed Structures After Earthquakes

 

Commission Grantee Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL)

JPL Uses NASA Technology to Find People Trapped by an Earthquake

 

JPL, a research facility of NASA operated by CalTech, has been working with the Commission to identify NASA technologies that can be used to increase monitoring, safety and recovery from earthquakes. The FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) system is a man-portable low-power radar that can penetrate the ground and rubble to find a person trapped up to 9 meters (30 feet) below the surface or beneath 6 meters (20 feet) of solid concrete.

The prototype unit has been successfully trialed after the 2015 Nepal earthquake, and JPL is now working to determine how best to train personnel in the use of FINDER and how to enhance the technology so it can be commercialized.

FINDER, a technology from space brought down to Earth to save lives.