December 29, 2011. A Department of Energy (DOE) helicopter scans the Downtown and Las Vegas Strip corridor for radioactivity. A helicopter carrying 2 large pods (seen in this photo) mounted on either side makes long low level sweeps across the downtown and Strip area of Las Vegas scanning for signs of radiation.
This helicopter, a Bell 412, has been used in the past of similar scans of the Las Vegas area before. With a check of its tail number, a Google search turns up a document by the DOE of this same helicopter with a in-depth description of the remote sensing equipment used in detecting gamma radiation from plutonium sources at the Nevada Test Site between 1996-1999. According to other searches on the web (Close up Photo) it has been used for radiation scanning in other parts of the United States.
The linked document describes the scanning flights as low level (45 meters off the ground) and in long parallel swaths (25 meters apart). These types of scans have been witness before by this same helicopter over Las Vegas and are probably part of the homeland security protocol for big large crowd events in Las Vegas.
DOE or whomever.. Keeping Las Vegas Safe, Happy New Year Everyone!
More on this helicopter scanning activities and what type of scanning equipment it is carrying. View This document from the DOE website (PDF).
Photo by: LasVegas360.com