News

Air movements over the Republic of Korea Computer simulation of wind-blown pollutants over East Asia.

Airborne Expedition Tackles Global Air Quality Problem

Next week NASA and the Republic of Korea’s National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) embark on the collaborative Korea United States Air Q...

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s P-3 Orion airplane carrying IceBridge’s scientists and instruments gets ready to take off for the Arctic campaign’s first research flight from Thule Air Base, Greenland. Credits: NASA/Operation IceBridge/John Woods

IceBridge Begins Eighth Year of Arctic Flights

Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice, completed its first Greenland research flight of 2016 on April 19, kicking off its eighth ...

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Clouds over the southern Atlantic Ocean are overlain by smoke (seen with the CALIPSO lidar satellite) from biomass burning fires over southern Africa, which move westward with the prevailing tropical winds. ORACLES will try to answer the question of how these smoke layers interact with the underlying clouds and affect the amount of sunlight they reflect back to space. Credits: NASA

Airborne Mission Looks at Fires and Cooling Atlantic Cloud Decks

A new NASA airborne field experiment planned for this summer will make key airborne measurements of clouds and smoke particles over the southeastern A...

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Eight major new NASA field research campaigns get underway this year from the Greenland ice sheet to Pacific coral reefs that will provide scientists with a deeper view of how our home planet works to complement what they’ve learned from space. Credits: NASA

NASA Gets Down to Earth This Year With Globe-Spanning Expeditions

NASA is sending scientists around the world in 2016 – from the edge of the Greenland ice sheet to the coral reefs of the South Pacific – to delve ...

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Probes on the outside of NASA's DC-8 aircraft to collect atmospheric samples. Credit: NASA/Tony Landis.

Airborne Study Surveys Greenhouse Gases in World Tour

The first deployment of one of NASA's most ambitious research studies of Earth's atmosphere will take place this July and August. The Atmospheric Tomo...

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NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland field campaign is gathering data to clarify how warm ocean water is speeding the loss of Greenland's glaciers. Credits: NordForsk

Q&A with Oceans Melting Greenland scientist Josh Willis

The new NASA airborne mission Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) will pave the way for improved estimates of sea level rise by addressing the question: To...

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The two NASA AFriSAR research aircraft: the B-200 airplane (left) carries a laser altimeter, while the C-20A aircraft (right) transports a radar. Both instruments collect measurements of surface topography and vegetation structure, creating 3D maps of their targets.

NASA, Partner Space Agencies Measure Forests In Gabon

A contingent of NASA airborne instruments and scientists on the ground has joined colleagues from space agencies in Gabon and Europe this month to stu...

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About the Airborne Science Program

The Airborne Science Program within the Earth Science Division is responsible for providing aircraft systems that further science and advance the use of satellite data. The primary objectives of this program are to:

  • Satellite Calibration and Validation
  • Provide platforms to enable essential calibration measurements for the Earth observing satellites, and the validation of data retrieval algorithms.

  • Support New Sensor Development
  • Provide sub-orbital flight opportunities to test and refine new instrument technologies/algorithms, and reduce risk prior to committing sensors for launch into space.

  • Process Studies
  • Obtain high-resolution temporal and spatial measurements of complex local processes, which can be coupled to global satellite observations for a better understanding of the complete Earth system.

  • Develop the Next-Generation of Scientists and Engineers
  • Foster the development of our future workforce with the hands-on involvement of graduate students, and young scientists/engineers in all aspects of ongoing Earth science investigations.

    To meet these observing objectives ASP maintains and operates a suite of sustained, ongoing platforms and sensors on which investigators can rely from year to year. From these known capabilities the Science Mission Directorate can develop observing strategies. However, an ongoing capability will be resource-constrained and eventually technology-constrained, so that not all observing requirements will be met with the limited core capability. Therefore the program facilitates access to other platforms or sensors on a funds-available, as-needed basis, to accommodate unique and/or occasional requirements. The Program also looks for new or evolving technologies to demonstrate their applicability for Earth science. Depending on the success of the demonstrations and the observing needs, the core capability is expected to evolve and change over time. The speed and extent of change will be balanced against the need for established, known capabilities for long-term planning.