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Kiwi-built drone to unlock secrets of the world’s volcanoes


A drone built at Victoria University of Wellington is about to carry out research overseas, unlocking the secrets of the world's volcanoes.

It's not just any drone that can do the job, it has to be able to withstand the kind dangerous chemicals that're belched out of the active craters.

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The drone that can withstand a volcano’s heat is about to carry out research overseas. Source: 1 NEWS

Nicknamed "Good Cop", the machine has been a labour of love for vulcanologist Dr Ian Schipper.

He told 1 NEWS that when it comes to researching volcanoes, location is everything.

"We have access to a lot of instruments to make high precision measurements of volcanic gasses and aerosols, but what we've suffered from for a long time is not having the ability to get those instruments into the plumes," he said.

Dr Schipper's drone helps overcome that issue, packing advanced tech, in a sturdy casing.

"We get richer samples, we get more concentrated samples, and we also get samples closer to the source."

While it's already had a test run at White Island in the Bay of Plenty, he'll soon be taking 'Good Cop' overseas to Papua New Guinea.

Joining a team of international scientists, he'll be assessing Mount Bagana, on the island of Boganville, One of the world's major gas emitters.

The research project has been funded by the Earthquake Commission.

It's hoped Dr Schipper's work will help us understand how devastating a large scale eruption in New Zealand could be.

"It will happen one day, so we want to know as much as we possibly can about how it might occur, when it might occur what type of eruption it might be," said Jo Horrocks from EQC.

"Then we can plan our responses."