Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




BLUE SKY
High-Flying NASA Aircraft Helps Develop New Science Instruments
by George Hale for Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD (SPX) Sep 19, 2012


NASA's ER-2 research aircraft.

Over the next few weeks, an ER-2 high altitude research aircraft operating out of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., will take part in the development of two future satellite instruments.

The aircraft will fly test models of these instruments at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet to gather information researchers can use to develop ways to handle data future spaceborne versions will collect.

NASA Wallops will be the temporary home of one of NASA's ER-2 research aircraft. The ER-2 from NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., will carry two instruments, the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) and the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL).

CATS and MABEL are test beds for instruments to be carried by future satellite missions, and because they are both high-altitude laser instruments they will share space on the ER-2 in part as a way to lower costs for both teams. The ER-2's deployment began on Sept. 7 and will end no later than Sept. 27.

CATS is a high spectral resolution lidar that uses a laser to gather data about clouds and aerosols. Aerosols are tiny particles in the atmosphere such as dust, smoke or pollution. Similar instruments on existing satellites, such as CALIPSO, can detect aerosol plumes, but cannot determine what they are made of.

"You have to make some assumptions," said atmospheric scientist Matt McGill at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

CATS can better detect aerosol particle properties, allowing researchers to better determine what kind of aerosols the plumes are made of and improve studies of aerosol transport and cloud motion. CATS was designed as a test instrument for the future Aerosol-Cloud Ecosystems (ACE) satellite mission, which is still in its planning stages, and a version of CATS will be installed on the International Space Station in mid-2013.

MABEL is a laser altimeter built to simulate the primary instrument on ICESat-2, scheduled for launch in 2016. ICESat-2 will study land and sea ice and vegetation. In April, a NASA ER-2 carrying MABEL flew surveys of land and sea ice out of Keflavik, Iceland, which yielded large amounts of data that researchers are using to develop algorithms for ICESat-2.

This time around, MABEL will measure vegetation along the U.S. East Coast, which will provide data useful for developing methods for determining the amount and thickness of vegetation coverage. This involves measuring both the tops of tree canopies and ground level at the same time, which Kelly Brunt, a cryospheric scientist at NASA Goddard, said is a challenging task.

The ICESat-2 team's need to measure deciduous forest canopies is in part of why these flights will operate out of Wallops. "We can't get the type of vegetation canopy we need flying out of Dryden," Brunt said. The ER-2 will be surveying forests and grasslands from Maine to the Florida Everglades.

In addition to CATS and MABEL, the ER-2 will carry a Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL) instrument that will be used to detect clouds and aerosols that could hinder MABEL's performance. "We need to know what's between MABEL and the surface," said McGill.

These flights will coincide with NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel, or HS3, campaign. HS3 is an airborne mission where a NASA Global Hawk unpiloted aircraft will overfly hurricanes and severe storms to measure properties such as wind, temperature, precipitation, humidity and aerosol profiles.

One of the instruments it carries is a CPL identical in design to the one on board the ER-2. The Global Hawk is capable of flying at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet for more than 28 hours at a time and will be operated by pilots back on the ground.

.


Related Links
CPL
MABEL
HS3
The Air We Breathe at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





BLUE SKY
Smelling The Grimsvotn
Paris, France (ESA) Sep 10, 2012
While piloting a commercial transatlantic flight last year, Captain Klaus Sievers and his crew got a whiff of an unusual odour. In a confined space 10 km up in the air, there was only one thing it could be. The foul smell with traces of sulphur in the cockpit came from none other than the Grimsvotn volcano that was spewing gas and ash from southeast Iceland. Sulphur dioxide often indicates ... read more


BLUE SKY
EU offers Italy 670 mn euros in quake aid

Norway supplies $168M for famine relief

Haunting 'Land of Hope' part shot on location in Fukushima

Japan slams brakes on $63 billion in spending

BLUE SKY
e2v chosen to supply high performance imaging sensors for Japan's X-ray Free-Electron Laser

Less wear, longer life for memory storage device

Solving bubble troubles: new surface can prevent liquid explosions or even frost

International team of physicists makes discovery about temperature in convection

BLUE SKY
When it rains, it pours

Marine park 'the size of the Moon' takes shape in Pacific

Super-trawler company to fight Australian ban

Most coral reefs are at risk unless climate change is drastically limited

BLUE SKY
Shrinking snow depth on Arctic sea ice threatens ringed seal habitat

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest level on record: US

Brazil to begin rebuilding its burned Antarctic base

How fast can ice sheets respond to climate change?

BLUE SKY
Sweden seeks flexibility on EU ag reforms

Warmer Temperatures Make New USDA Plant Zone Map Obsolete

New gene could lead to better bug-resistant plants

Italian architect designs world's biggest vertical garden

BLUE SKY
Powerful Typhoon Sanba pounds South Korea

Nicaragua ups volcano response as San Cristobal rumbles

India landslide death toll jumps to 45: minister

Eruptions weaken at Guatemala's Volcano of Fire

BLUE SKY
Moroccan ex-POWs from W. Sahara conflict hold sit-in

No peace of mind for war-weary South Sudanese

Toll rises to 40 in S. Sudan military boat sinking: army

ECOWAS defence ministers meet on Mali, G.Bissau: official

BLUE SKY
Some gains but many mysteries as Alzheimer's epidemic looms

Stress breaks loops that hold short-term memory together

How early social deprivation impairs long-term cognitive function

Mapping a genetic world beyond genes




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement