Nanosatellites and drone geophysics: new technologies for Earth, Moon and Mars
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Geomagnetic depth sounding (GDS) is a geophysical technique that maps the anomalous vertical magnetic variational fields.
Unlike the magnetotelluric (MT) method that requires long pairs of grounded electric dipoles, the GDS method simply requires a three-component magnetic sensor and data acquisition system that does not need to be attached to the ground.
We propose to develop a research program to use drones for remote deployment of GDS sensors.
The vision is to have a swarm of drones from a field base to a number of locations, recording for a few days to weeks before being recalled and fly back with the sensors. Real-time remote data transfer could be undertaken using Fleet Space Technologies LoRaWAN™ Gateway and satellite modem.
Real-time data analytics would provide information as to how long GDS sensors should be deployed for, and to evolve survey logistics with time.
The project would involve (a) building a lightweight three-component fluxgate magnetometer with mass of less than 1 kg and size smaller than a shoebox; (b) collecting field data to test out the logistics of deployment; (c) developing the technology for remote data analysis; and (d) investigating the potential to deploy autonomously.