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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.