Human beings are known for being good at many different things, and yet the greatest ability you’ll find in our arsenal is that tendency of growing on a consistent basis. This tendency has notably allowed us to hit upon some huge milestones, with technology appearing as a unique member of the stated group. Talk about technology’s anomalous credentials, they largely stem from its never-seen-before set of offerings that introduced us to a reality we couldn’t have imagined on our own. Nevertheless, if you care to look beyond the surface, it becomes clear how this whole runner was also inspired by the way in which we utilized the stated skills. The latter component was, in fact, what gave technology a spectrum-wide presence, and consequentially, kickstarted a whole revolution. The proverbial tech revolution, as we know, went on to scale up our lives from every conceivable direction, but even after achieving such a significant feat, it will somehow keep on bringing all the right goods to the table. This particular dynamic has only grown more and more apparent over the recent past, and NASA’s latest move should do a lot to solidify its traces moving forward.
NASA is officially partnering with US Geological Survey to deploy dedicated aircrafts for the purpose of spotting critical minerals buried across the southwest US. As per the agreed arrangement, NASA’s ER-2 and Gulfstream V aircraft will fly over parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico to scour and make a meaningful inference about the location of these minerals. Of course, to carry out such an intricate assignment, the aircrafts will need some additional capabilities. In this case, the stated capabilities will come through NASA’s Airborne Visible / Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), which is well-equipped to facilitate high-altitude remote sensing. The AVIRIS will work by measuring hyperspectral data from light reflected off the Earth’s surface in the visible to infrared range. Now, given how every mineral tends to reflect light in its own unique way, they all boast a different spectral signature, therefore making them much easier to spot.
“This project builds on our 60-year legacy and can show us where to look for the resources that support our transition to a clean energy economy. With our partners at USGS, NASA has led the way in developing these Earth observation systems to gather information to measure and monitor the environment and climate change,” said Bill Nelson, NASA administrator.
The goal is, of course, to feed the country’s ambition of acquiring minerals that can be used to shore up domestic supply chains for clean energy technologies, as well as the materials needed to make batteries, turbines, and solar panels. This very ambition has popped up on the surface quite a few times during 2022, and one big example of the same came in March, when Biden administration invoked the Defense Production Act to expand the domestic production and processing of critical minerals utilized in clean energy creation.