Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered Sensors Aboard Satellites Help Detect Methane Leaks On Earth

Orbital Sidekick uses microsatellites and AI for such remote sensing applications.

Orbital Sidekick, a California-based Earth-observation startup, has launched a new constellation of microsatellites equipped with hyperspectral sensors. These satellites utilize artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor methane leaks with unparalleled precision from space.

After carbon dioxide, methane is the Earth’s second most prevalent greenhouse gas, responsible for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, in contrast to carbon dioxide’s 76%, as reported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, it’s essential to note that methane exerts a significantly greater influence on the Earth’s climate, being over 25 times more potent as a warming agent than carbon dioxide.

Unlike existing systems, they analyze 500 bands of light across the electromagnetic spectrum, offering sensitivity 20 times better, with a resolution of 26 feet (8 meters). This technology (a “chemical fingerprint”) promises to significantly enhance the detection of methane leaks, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for 20% of global emissions. (

Orbital Sidekick’s AI algorithms analyze the data and transmit information about methane hotspots, aiding in early leak detection.

Additionally, the company plans to expand its applications to support precision agriculture, disaster response, and security. They are set to launch three more satellites next year.

“We’re building one of the most robust remote sensing analytics capabilities that will assist us to understand the dynamic nature of our planet on a chemical level,” the company says.

Related Story:  The Allen Institute Launches The Satlas AI Platform For Viewing Satellite Imagery

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