News

Help from Above: NASA Aids Kilauea Disaster Response

On May 3, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted from new fissures and sent lava flowing over streets and neighborhoods. As the disaster...

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A large iceberg floating among sea ice floes, as seen during an operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 21, 2018. Credits: NASA/Linette Boisvert

NASA Completes Survey Flights to Map Arctic Ice

Operation IceBridge, NASA’s longest-running airborne mission to monitor polar ice change, concluded this year’s springtime survey of Arctic sea an...

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Engineers Raquel Rodriguez Monje and Fabien Nicaise discuss placement of the DopplerScatt radar instrument on the NASA B200 before its final installation onto the aircraft’s fuselage. Credits: NASA Photo / Ken Ulbrich

New Technology Doubles Scientists’ View of Ocean-Air Interactions

NASA scientists are hard at work trying to unlock mysteries of our planet’s ocean surface currents and winds using a new Earth science radar instrum...

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Sea ice in the Arctic as seen from ATom’s DC-8 in January 2017. Credits: NASA / Róisín Commane

NASA's World Tour of the Atmosphere Reveals Surprises Along...

Since 2016, a team of scientists with 25 advanced instruments aboard NASA's DC-8 research aircraft has sampled over 400 different gases and a broad ra...

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Snow-covered pack sea ice north of Greenland. Credits: NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

NASA Begins Latest Airborne Arctic Ice Survey

NASA completed the first IceBridge flight of its spring Arctic campaign with a survey of  sea ice north of Greenland. This year marks the tenth Arcti...

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Langley researchers, from left, Mulugeta Petros, Upendra Singh and Tamer Refaat inside the King Air B200 aircraft on which they recently tested a new triple-pulse lidar that can simultaneously and independently measure carbon dioxide and water vapor, two powerful greenhouse gases. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

Taking the Pulse of Greenhouse Gases

NASA's King Air B200 aircraft was flown to test the triple-pulse Integrated Path Differential Absorption (IPDA) lidar, a first-of-its-kind instrument...

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NASA’s Longest Running Survey of Ice Shattered Records in 2017

Last year was a record-breaking one for Operation IceBridge, NASA’s aerial survey of the state of polar ice. For the first time in its nine-year his...

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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.