Jul 15, 2009 | 2
A dozen stainless steel spiders descended from a helicopter into the crater of Mount Saint Helens yesterday. As Seattle’s KOMO News reported, the “pods are small and tough enough to reach places no man dares” to go. Scientists hope that data collected by the monitoring machines could one day help them to better predict volcanic eruptions.
Outfitted with precision GPS, motion-sensitive lead plates and pressure gauges, the $3,000 spiders both record and analyze the slumbering volcano’s movements and explosions. They even communicate with each other to determine what data is important enough to pass along. Information about multiple consecutive tremors, rather than one isolated shift, for example, is sent to satellites, which then relay the data to scientists. Each machine runs on just 1 watt of power, reported The Longview Daily News, compared to a standard nightlight, which uses about 15 watts.
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