If you see a Pacific Gas & Electric service person slowly walking, skimming the ground with a hand-held gizmo that looks like a metal detector, they aren\u2019t looking for lost jewelry and coins. They are seeking out natural gas leaks. PG&E, in collaboration with NASA\u2019s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced Oct. 1 it is testing a laser-based technology adapted from NASA\u2019s Mars Rovers that was initially designed to find methane on the red planet. The technology is being tested in California also to find methane, but specifically from leaking natural gas pipes. If the technology effectively finds gas leaks it may help ensure utility compliance with a new state law SB 1371 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). It mandates that state regulators adopt rules directing utilities to improve gas pipeline leak detection and speed up repairs. Cost estimates of the project were not provided. Natural gas leaks release methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide. \u201cWe are using out-of-this-world technology to find and fix even the smallest leaks in our system,\u201d noted Nick Stavropoulos, PG&E\u2019s executive vice president of gas operations. PG&E has gas pipes across 70,000 square miles. The new laser handheld device is expected to be used in 2015. PG&E stated that its earlier miniature robot prototype developed to evaluate hard-to-reach natural gas pipes helped the utility slash minor leaks last year from 12,500 to 150.