Thursday, 13 Aug, 2009 Technology

NASA Unmanned Jet to Take 3D Hi-Res Images of Earthquake Faults


To better understand the possibilities of California's deadly earthquake, researchers at NASA came up with the idea of using a jet equipped with an autopilot system and radar to identify the earthquake faults with high-precision.

Scientists dubbed their system Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR). It features a UAVSAR pod that is 10 feet long and which can take high-resolution photos beneath the surface of the earth. The autopilot system makes it possible for the radar to repeatedly fly above the same regions.

One flight will not give a lot of information on the earthquake faults. However, after scanning the faults again after several hours, days or months, each movement turns obvious with the help of interferometry, a method of making obvious the dissimilarities between several sets of information. More news about NASA and scientific technology you can find here at, check the links at the bottom of the story.

Now scientists at NASA are using a jet with UAVSAR to map faults in the San Francisco Bay Area, central and southern California, as well as the Los Angeles Basin, which encompasses the San Andreas and Hayward faults. To increase the scanning time and reduce the cost of the whole project, researchers decided to use an unmanned jet. Taking advantage of the information gathered from the scans, NASA looks forward to develop a detailed image of the movement of faults. More information and images is available here.

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