Meet MethaneSAT, a satellite which will ‘name and shame’ methane

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Space Technology, Issue: Measuring Methane emission


  • Launched on SpaceX Falcon9 rocket, orbits Earth 15 times daily to track global methane emissions.
  • Developed by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Harvard University, and others.
  • Aims for detailed methane data, including sources and trends.
  • High-resolution infrared sensors detect methane down to three parts per billion.
  • Wide-camera view identifies all emitter of all sizes.
  • Data is public in near real-time, aiding stakeholders and regulators.
  • Transparency holds governments and corporations accountable for methane reduction commitments.
Prelims connect (Significance of measuring Methane):

·         Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide, and contributes significantly to global warming.

·         Over a 20-year period, methane is 80 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

·         Methane emissions also contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which poses health risks and causes premature deaths.

·         Fossil fuel operations are the primary source of methane emissions caused by humans, accounting for about 40% of the total.

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