University Wins NASA Grant for Volcano Mapping with UAVs

1217_thinkstockphotos-87467027 University Wins NASA Grant for Volcano Mapping with UAVsNASA has given the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) an education research program award for the university's proposal to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to observe active volcanoes.

NASA gave a total of approximately $11.25 million to universities in 15 states to conduct basic research and technology development in areas critical to the agency's mission. UH Hilo's proposal is called ‘Developing a Capability at the University of Hawaii for Multiple UAV Observations of Active Volcanism.’

NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research gave up to $750,000 to colleges and universities for research and development in areas such as remote sensing, nanotechnology, astrophysics and aeronautics.

In addition to funding research that can further NASA's current and future mission, these grants provide the added benefit of improving science and technology research and development capabilities at the universities, says NASA.

The award covers a three-year period. Results from the research will be provided to NASA for possible inclusion in its programs.

Last fall, researchers from UH Hilo used a senseFly swinglet CAM to successfully map the active flow front of the Kilauea lava flow on Hawaii Island. In a partnership with Hawaii County Civil Defense and the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the flight team from the UH Hilo Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Laboratory collected high-resolution stills, which were later merged into a mosaic for use by Civil Defense emergency planners.


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