Can we detect plastic in our oceans using satellite instruments?

In Delft, the ESA space agency and the research institute Deltares conducted tests in a large aquarium to see if it was possible to detect plastic in our oceans using satellite instruments.

Can we detect plastic in our oceans using satellite instruments?

Despite the fact that five different teams are testing different tools and they all want to be successful, it certainly doesn’t feel like a competition in Delft. If something goes wrong or if there are questions, the teams are there for each other. “It’s because, because we all think it’s very important,” says ESA expert Peter de Maagt, “We really want this to work. Everyone understands how important that is.

So it’s good in a giant pool Deltares . Research Institute. The waves are working, the plastic has been dumped into the water and now it’s time to use the existing satellite instruments as well as the measuring instruments that will be developed to see if they can detect the plastic between all these water movements.

cautiously positive

It’s an ongoing experiment and so not all of the data has been received today, but there are already a lot of smiles here and there. “It looks like we can see something. So we can measure the plastic. And with an instrument already traveling through space on a satellite,” says Thomas, of the Portuguese team, excitedly. “Not so accurate yet that we can see a single bottle, but with larger quantities it seems It is possible.”

In the audio recording, ESA expert Peter de Maagt explains more about the investigation. We also spoke with researcher Anton de Fuckert of Deltares, you can hear this part here:

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We can use this data to calculate how the plastic moves.

You can hear the full conversation with Thomas from the Portuguese team here:

“This is the first time anyone in the world has tried this.”

Read more about the various ESA projects related to detecting plastic in the oceans here: Remote Sensing Expedition for Marine Plastic Litter.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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