New Space and Tech

MethaneSAT — A Watchdog in Space to Spot Whiffs of Methane

By Leonard David
September 18, 2023
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MethaneSAT — A Watchdog in Space to Spot Whiffs of Methane
MethaneSAT carries a high-performance spectrometer-based methane sensing system. Shown here is the satellite and instrument fully integrated.
Image credit: Ball Aerospace.

Early next year, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is launching its own spacecraft, MethaneSAT – a name that is exact about what this satellite is seeking.

Methane is a troublesome gas. While far less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide in entrapping heat over a 100-year time period. Furthermore, methane affects air quality because it contributes to ground-level ozone, a hazardous air pollutant.


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Leonard David

Leonard is author of Moon Rush: The New Space Race, Mars – Our Future on the Red Planet, and co-authored with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration - all published by the National Geographic Society.