Narrator: This is Science Today. Specialized instruments on a plane flying over hundreds of miles of Pacific Gas and Electric's natural gas pipeline are enabling researchers at the University of California, Davis, to detect gas leaks as far as several miles downwind from the source.
Conley: Initially this came to be as me as a project of renting out the airplane basically and then we proposed to them that we do this as a research project, not just as an airplane project.
Narrator: Atmospheric scientist and pilot Stephen Conley and colleagues at UC Davis are working with PG&E to collect data about the gas pipeline, that will not only give them more insight into the atmosphere for research purposes, but will help public safety. Conley explains that flying over the pipeline is a tenth of the cost of other technologies and could be done more often and possibly prevent disasters like the deadly gas explosion in San Bruno, California in 2010.
Conley: I hope ultimately that we prevent something like San Bruno from every happening again.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.