Title

Feasibility of Using Cubesats to Detect Oil Spills and Photochemical Oxidation

Author(s)

Daniel CobleFollow

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Mentored

Abstract

Minimizing the ecological impact of oceanic oil spills such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon depends on efficient and cost-effective cleanup methods. Currently, the most cost-effective method to dispose of spilt oil is with the application of chemical dispersants. However, once spilt oil reaches the surface, it begins photochemical oxidation, lessening dispersant efficacy in disposing oil. Oxidation may occur very quickly, potentially in less than a day after the oil reaches the surface. Thus, in oil spills located far from the shore, using aircraft to analyze oxidation may take too long. Satellite sensing can give the ability to perform such analysis in a much quicker timeframe. As a means to inexpensive space missions, CubeSats give the opportunity to perform simple space missions such as Earth imaging. Using parts analogous to those on an actual mission, a prototype CubeSat was created and performed a simulated mission. Our results show that a mission to detect oil oxidation would be possible, or software could be implemented on existing CubeSat or other satellite missions.

Location

Furman Hall 229

Start Date

3-28-2020 11:15 AM

Presentation Format

Oral Only

Group Project

No

COinS
 
Mar 28th, 11:15 AM

Feasibility of Using Cubesats to Detect Oil Spills and Photochemical Oxidation

Furman Hall 229

Minimizing the ecological impact of oceanic oil spills such as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon depends on efficient and cost-effective cleanup methods. Currently, the most cost-effective method to dispose of spilt oil is with the application of chemical dispersants. However, once spilt oil reaches the surface, it begins photochemical oxidation, lessening dispersant efficacy in disposing oil. Oxidation may occur very quickly, potentially in less than a day after the oil reaches the surface. Thus, in oil spills located far from the shore, using aircraft to analyze oxidation may take too long. Satellite sensing can give the ability to perform such analysis in a much quicker timeframe. As a means to inexpensive space missions, CubeSats give the opportunity to perform simple space missions such as Earth imaging. Using parts analogous to those on an actual mission, a prototype CubeSat was created and performed a simulated mission. Our results show that a mission to detect oil oxidation would be possible, or software could be implemented on existing CubeSat or other satellite missions.