News

Large rift near the Pine Island Glacier tongue, West Antarctica, as seen during an IceBridge flight on Nov. 4, 2016. Credits: NASA/Nathan Kurtz

NASA Nears Finish Line of Annual Study of Changing Antarctic Ice

Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of changes in polar ice, is closing in on the end of its eighth consecutive Antarctic deployment, and wi...

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Getz Ice Shelf as photographed on Nov. 5 from a NASA research airplane by Jeremy Harbeck, a sea ice scientist at NASA Goddard

Getting to Know the Getz Ice Shelf

IceBridge, now in its eighth year, continues to build a record of how ice is responding to changes in the polar environment. The Getz Ice Shelf in Wes...

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A view from Operation IceBridge's aircraft of Crosson Ice Shelf, foreground. Mt. Murphy is in the background. Credits: NASA/OIB/Michael Studinger

Studies Offer New Glimpse of Melting Under Antarctic Glaciers

Two new studies by researchers at NASA and the University of California, Irvine (UCI), detect the fastest ongoing rates of glacier retreat ever observ...

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The mountains of northern Alexander Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, passing under the left wing of the DC-8 aircraft carrying Operation IceBridge¹s scientists and instruments on Oct. 14, 2016. Credits: NASA/John Sonntag

NASA Launches Eighth Year of Antarctic Ice Change Airborne Survey

IceBridge completed the first research flight of its 2016 Antarctic campaign on October 14. The campaign will continue through November 19. This year,...

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NASA's Global Hawk being prepared for deployment to Florida to study Hurricane Matthew. Credits: NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes

NASA/NOAA Team Deploy Global Hawk to Track Hurricane Matthew

NASA’s Global Hawk aircraft was deployed to Florida from Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, CA. on Oct. 6 to monitor and take scientific m...

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C-23 Sherpa

NASA Using Aircraft to Measure Mid-Atlantic Greenhouse Gases

NASA is conducting low-level aircraft flights measuring greenhouse gases over the mid-Atlantic region through September. The flights are for the CARb...

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The Gulfstream III carrying NASA's PRISM instrument being readied for science flights from Cairns, Australia. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/BIOS

NASA Begins Study of Australia's Great Barrier Reef

A NASA airborne mission designed to transform our understanding of Earth's valuable and ecologically sensitive coral reefs has set up shop in Australi...

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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.