Unmanned Airborne System Deployment at Turrialba Volcano for Real Time Eruptive Cloud Measurements

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 08:15
302 (Moscone South)
Jorge Andres Diaz1, David C Pieri2, Matthew M Fladeland3, Geoff Bland4, Ernesto Corrales5, Alfred Alan Jr.5, Oscar Alegria5, Richard Kolyer3 and CARTA UAV Missions, (1)University of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica, (2)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)NASA Ames Research Ctr, Moffett Field, CA, United States, (4)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)Gas Lab, CICANUM, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
The development of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) with a variety of instrument packages enables in situ and proximal remote sensing measurements of volcanic plumes, even when the active conditions of the volcano do not allow volcanologists and emergency response personnel to get too close to the erupting crater. This has been demonstrated this year by flying a sUAS through the heavy ash driven erupting volcanic cloud of Turrialba Volcano, while conducting real time in situ measurement of gases over the crater summit. The event also achieved the collection of newly released ash samples from the erupting volcano. The interception of the Turrialba ash cloud occurred during the CARTA 2015 field campaign carried out as part of an ongoing program for remote sensing satellite calibration and validation purposes, using active volcanic plumes. These deployments are timed to support overflights of the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) onboard the NASA Terra satellite on a bimonthly basis using airborne platforms such as tethered balloons, free-flying fixed wing small UAVs at altitudes up to 12.5Kft ASL within about a 5km radius of the summit crater. The onboard instrument includes the MiniGas payload which consists of an array of single electrochemical and infrared gas detectors (SO2, H2S CO2), temperature, pressure, relative humidity and GPS sensors, all connected to an Arduino-based board, with data collected at 1Hz. Data are both stored onboard and sent by telemetry to the ground operator within a 3 km range. The UAV can also carry visible and infrared cameras as well as other payloads, such as a UAV-MS payload that is currently under development for mass spectrometer-based in situ measurements. The presentation describes the ongoing UAV- based in situ remote sensing validation program at Turrialba Volcano, the results of a fly-through the eruptive cloud, as well as future plans to continue these efforts. Work presented here was carried out, in part, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract to NASA.