Feeds

ESA tests greenhouse gas-measuring lasers

Green beams light up the skies over the Canaries

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Residents of the Canaries could be forgiven for thinking they were under attack from an alien race over the last two weeks, as the islands played host to a European Space Agency test of a laser tracking system for greenhouse gases.

Infrared laser experiment for studying greenhouse gases

Infrared laser experiment for studying greenhouse gases. Credit: ESA

The agency wants to try to use shortwave infrared laser pulses fired between satellites to 'sense' the atmosphere, but the theory behind the plan had to be looked into here on Earth first.

Of course, the actual infrared beam is invisible to the naked eye, but the agency used (appropriately) a green guidance laser to record atmospheric turbulence alongside the infrared beams, which lit up the skies over the islands.

The experiment to test the concept of using "infrared differential absorption spectroscopy" was carried out by firing lasers from one facility on La Palma to another on Tenerife over the course of a fortnight.

"At the right wavelength, the atmospheric molecules affect the beam. This information can then be used to calculate concentrations of trace gases, and potentially wind," the agency explained. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.