The research will help to measure climate change. NASA’s orbital dust analyzer has detected and mapped 50 ‘super-emitters‘ of methane, a strong greenhouse gas, in the US, Middle East, and Central Asia.
The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Survey (EMIT) mission, which deployed to the International Space Station in July, used imaging spectroscopy to identify methane hotspots.Super emitters include large oil and gas facilities and landfills. NASA shared satellite images of Carlsbad, New Mexico, Tehran, and Turkmenistan near the Caspian Seaport Khazar.According to NASA, the survey and similar research will help to better understand climate change. Methane, although making up just a fraction of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, is estimated to be 80 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere.
“We have been eager to see how EMIT’s mineral data will improve climate modeling,” Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate adviser, noted, adding that new methane-detecting tools will enhance ways of measuring and monitoring how greenhouse gas affects the planet.
In August, the Space.com reported that other measurements from the EMIT team were aimed at creating “an image cube that shows the spectral signature of elements in Western Australia.” These include “exposed soils, vegetation, agricultural areas, rivers, and clouds.” EMIT is also designed to measure the quantity of minerals, including dolomite, calcite, and gypsum, in the arid regions of the Earth.