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  • Optical Engineer Aboubakar Traore looks over the Doppler Aerosol Wind Lidar (DAWN) before it travels from Hampton, Virginia, to Palmdale, California. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

    Going Where the Wind Takes It

    Developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, DAWN uses laser pulses to take highly accurate measurements of vector wind speed and direction. In the upcoming campaign, which will be based out of NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, scientists will use DAWN to validate measurements from Atmospheric Dynamics Mission Aeolus (ADM-Aeolus), a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite that profiles wind speeds across the globe.

  • A large iceberg near Thule Air Base, Greenland. Credits: NASA

    NASA's Greenland Mission Still Surprises in Year Four

    Only seven months after NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission wrapped its last field campaign on the world's largest island, an OMG crew is back in Greenland to collect more data. With two or three field projects a year since 2016, no wonder OMG has made the most comprehensive measurements yet of how ocean water lapping at the undersides of Greenland's melting glaciers affects them. All that data has answered a lot of existing questions — and it's raised plenty of new ones.

  • A large iceberg near Thule Air Base, Greenland. Credits: NASA

    NASA's Greenland Mission Still Surprises in Year Four

    Only seven months after NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission wrapped its last field campaign on the world's largest island, an OMG crew is back in Greenland to collect more data. With two or three field projects a year since 2016, no wonder OMG has made the most comprehensive measurements yet of how ocean water lapping at the undersides of Greenland's melting glaciers affects them. All that data has answered a lot of existing questions — and it's raised plenty of new ones.

  • Just 114 miles from the newly-found Hiawatha impact crater under the ice of northwest Greenland, lies a possible second impact crater. The 22-mile wide feature would be the second crater found under an ice sheet, and if confirmed, would be the 22nd-largest crater on Earth. A NASA-led team discovered the feature using satellite data of the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet as well as radar measurements from NASA’s airborne campaign Operation IceBridge. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/ Jefferson

    NASA Finds Possible Second Impact Crater Under Greenland Ice

    A NASA glaciologist has discovered a possible second impact crater buried under more than a mile of ice in northwest Greenland. This follows the finding, announced in November 2018, of a 19-mile-wide crater beneath Hiawatha Glacier – the first meteorite impact crater ever discovered under Earth’s ice sheets. Though the newly found impact sites in northwest Greenland are only 114 miles apart, at present they do not appear to have formed at the same time.

  • Thwaites Glacier. Credits: NASA/OIB/Jeremy Harbeck

    Huge Cavity in Antarctic Glacier Signals Rapid Decay

    A gigantic cavity — two-thirds the area of Manhattan and almost 1,000 feet (300 meters) tall — growing at the bottom of Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is one of several disturbing discoveries reported in a new NASA-led study of the disintegrating glacier. The findings highlight the need for detailed observations of Antarctic glaciers' undersides in calculating how fast global sea levels will rise in response to climate change.

  • An image of the Camp Fire on Nov. 8 from the Landsat 8 satellite. Credits: USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens

    NASA Mobilizes to Aid California Fires Response

    For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used by disaster managers battling the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California. The agency-wide effort also deployed a research aircraft over the Woolsey Fire on Nov. 15 to identify burned areas at risk of mudslides in advance of winter rains expected in the area.

  • The Hiawatha impact crater is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which flows just beyond the crater rim, forming a semi-circular edge. Part of this edge (top of photo) and a tongue of ice that breaches the crater’s rim are shown in this photo taken during a NASA Operation IceBridge flight on April 17. Credits: NASA/John Sonntag

    International Team, NASA Make Unexpected Discovery Under Greenland Ice

    An international team of researchers, including a NASA glaciologist, has discovered a large meteorite impact crater hiding beneath more than a half-mile of ice in northwest Greenland. The crater — the first of any size found under the Greenland ice sheet — is one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth, measuring roughly 1,000 feet deep and more than 19 miles in diameter, an area slightly larger than that inside Washington’s Capital Beltway.

  • A close-up view of the rift separating Pine Island Glacier and iceberg B-46, as seen on an Operation IceBridge flight on November 7, 2018. Credits: NASA/ Brooke Medley

    Massive Antarctic Iceberg Spotted on NASA IceBridge Flight

    NASA’s Operation IceBridge flew over an iceberg that is three times the size of Manhattan – the first time anyone has laid eyes on the giant iceberg, dubbed B-46 by the U.S. National Ice Center, that broke off from Pine Island Glacier in late October.

  • A thick haze of milky-gray smoke overlies a blue ocean surface dotted with puffy white low clouds in this view of the smoke-cloud system over the southeast Atlantic Ocean, taken from the window of the P-3 during a science flight on August 24th, 2017. Credits: Michael Diamond

    African Smoke-Cloud Connection Target of NASA Airborne Flights

    This month, NASA's P-3 research aircraft and a team of scientists return on their third deployment to this region as part of the Observations of Aerosols Above Clouds and their Interactions mission, or ORACLES, gathering data on how aerosols such as smoke affect clouds and in turn Earth's climate.

  • The Shackleton Range in Antarctica at sunset with snow blowing off the ridges, photographed during an Operation IceBridge flight on Oct. 10, 2018. Credits: NASA/Michael Studinger

    Operation IceBridge, ICESat-2 Join Forces To Survey Antarctica

    NASA’s decade-long airborne survey of polar ice, Operation IceBridge, is once again probing Antarctica. But this year is different: it is the first time that the IceBridge team and instruments survey the frozen continent while NASA’s newest satellite mission, the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), studies it from space.

  • NASA’s G-III aircraft staged operations from Gainesville, Florida. The UAVSAR pod is located at the bottom of the aircraft’s fuselage. Credits: NASA/Samuel Choi

    NASA Airborne Team Surveys Flooding from Hurricane Florence

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which struck the Carolinas on Sept. 14 causing widespread damage, NASA quickly deployed a sophisticated airborne radar to give disaster response agencies a much-needed view of floodwaters that continued to threaten the region.

  • Oceans Melting Greenland Principal Investigator Josh Willis drops a probe during OMG's fall 2018 airborne campaign, then he and flight engineer Glenn Warren watch its descent from the plane windows. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Finding Open Water in Greenland's Icy Seas

    Researchers in NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland campaign release scientific probes from an airplane into the seawater along the coast of Greenland. The probes are part of a five-year effort to improve our understanding of the ocean's role in Greenland's rapid ice loss.

  • Scientists will fill NASA research aircraft, such as the B-200 King Air shown here, with advanced instruments to probe five important research questions starting in 2020 as part of the Earth Venture Suborbital program. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

    New Airborne Campaigns to Explore Snowstorms, River Deltas, Climate

    Five new NASA Earth science campaigns will take to the field starting in 2020 to investigate a range of pressing research questions, from what drives intense East Coast snowfall events to the impact of small-scale ocean currents on global climate.

  • The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest wildfire in California history with well over 350,000 acres burned. This false-color image was captured on August 9, 2018 by an instrument installed aboard a NASA research aircraft that flew over both fires making up the complex in the area around Clear Lake (the central, black feature) in northern California. Active fire zones are seen in yellow, with warm, burned areas in orange. Unburned vegetation appears in blue and green. The flames of small, active fires

    Mapping Record-Setting Wildfire from 65,000 Feet

    The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest wildfire in California history with well over 350,000 acres burned. This false-color image was captured on August 9, 2018 by an instrument installed aboard a NASA research aircraft that flew over both fires making up the complex in the area around Clear Lake (the central, black feature) in northern California. Active fire zones are seen in yellow, with warm, burned areas in orange. Unburned vegetation appears in blue and green. The flames of small, active fires can be seen at the leading edges of the fire perimeter. 

  • An ER-2 based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California flew a mission over the state’s wildfires Aug. 9 to validate instruments and to collect information to help U.S. Forest Service officials plan for recovery. Credits: NASA Photo / Ken Ulbrich

    NASA Assists in Efforts to Contain California Wildfires

    An effort by multiple NASA centers to assist with the California wildfires included capturing satellite data of the smoke plumes and aircraft flights over burned areas to collect information for recovery planning.

  • A close encounter with Greenland ice during a 2017 OMG field campaign. Credits: NASA

    NASA Gets Up Close with Greenland's Melting Ice

    With a new research plane and a new base to improve its chances of outsmarting Atlantic hurricanes, NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland campaign takes to the sky this week for its third year of gathering data on how the ocean around Greenland is melting its glaciers.

     

  • Christy Hansen

    Christy Hansen - A Force of Nature

    Christy Hansen plans and manages airborne science missions. She helps scientists, engineers and managers to design aircraft-based Earth science missions including milestones and budget, science requirements definition, instruments and aircraft, field logistics and deployment operations, data management, documentation and reporting. 

  • Laura Judd, postdoctoral researcher at NASA Langley, prepares for a LISTOS science flight on the center's HU-25 aircraft. GeoTASO, a remote-sensing instrument that observes reflected sunlight to measure atmospheric trace gases and aerosols over a wide area, is visible in the foreground. Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

    NASA Joins Effort to Sniff Out Ozone in the Northeast

    A scientific investigation is looking into how ozone forms and how it's being transported around the Long Island Sound. Led by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), the Long Island Sound Tropospheric Ozone Study (LISTOS) involves researchers from state and federal agencies and academia. Two NASA centers — Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland — are contributing scientists, pilots, aircraft and aircraft-based remote sensing instruments to the effort.

  • Students, mentors and faculty of the 2018 NASA Student Airborne Research Program pose in front of the NASA DC-8

    Student Airborne Research Program Celebrates Tenth Year

    Twenty-eight undergraduate students are participating in an eight-week NASA airborne science program field experience designed to immerse them in the agency's Earth Science research.

  • Nabesna Glacier. Image Credit: Chris Larsen, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

    Dirty, Crevassed Glaciers in Alaska

    Over the years, scientists have captured spectacular photographs while mapping ice during NASA’s Operation IceBridge mission. Many of the photographs have featured the icy landscapes of Greenland and Antarctica, over which lengthy missions are flown each year over. But the views during shorter duration IceBridge missions over Alaska reveal some equally majestic icescapes.

  • ACT-America: The Story So Far

    A NASA airborne science study looking at the transport of two major greenhouse gases in the eastern half of the U.S. just completed its fourth and next-to-last flight campaign. By measuring how weather systems move carbon dioxide and methane, Atmospheric Carbon and Transport-America, or ACT-America, aims to improve our understanding of where the gases originate and where they're being absorbed. Flight campaigns have covered summer, fall, winter and spring. A final set of flights in 2019 will take a second look at summer, which is a particularly active time for greenhouse gas transport. In this video, ACT-America scientists talk about what the study is revealing so far, the challenges of conducting a multi-year airborne science campaign, and what they hope ACT-America's legacy will be.

  • 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 response on the ground lead by the U.S. Geological Survey kicked into gear, managers from NASA’s Earth Science Disasters Program heard from response agencies and sent out a call to NASA’s own researchers, data managers, and satellite teams: What can we do to help?

  • 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 and land ice.

  • 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 instrument called DopplerScatt.

  • 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 the Way

    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 range of airborne particles on month-long excursions from Alaska down the Pacific to New Zealand, then over to South America and up the Atlantic to Greenland, and across the Arctic Ocean. Far from land, the atmosphere above the ocean is where to find the cleanest air on the planet — at least in theory. Over the course of three deployments, and with their fourth and final trek beginning in late April, the team has found surprising levels of pollutants above the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

  • 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 Arctic spring campaign for IceBridge. The flights continue until April 27 extending the mission’s decade-long mapping of the fastest-changing areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet and measuring sea ice thickness across the western Arctic basin.

  • 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 that measures atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O).

  • 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 history, the mission, which aims to close the gap between two NASA satellite campaigns that study changes in the height of polar ice, carried out seven field campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic in a single year. In total, the IceBridge scientists and instruments flew over 214,000 miles, the equivalent of orbiting the Earth 8.6 times at the equator.

  • NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) airborne radar platform detected changes caused by the debris flows between two images acquired on Nov. 2, 2017, and Feb. 5, 2018. An enhanced image pair (top left) shows disturbed areas in orange. In areas of severe surface disruption from the fire scar and debris flows the two image pairs can't be matched and decorrelate (top right). In the middle panels, the radar images are overlaid on the structure damage map produced by the County of

    California Debris Flows Seen in Before/After Images from NASA's UAVSAR

    Extreme winter rains in January 2018 following the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties caused severe debris flows, resulting in significant loss of life and considerable property damage in the town on Montecito, just east of Santa Barbara. NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) airborne radar platform detected changes caused by the debris flows between two images acquired on Nov. 2, 2017, and Feb. 5, 2018. An enhanced image pair (top left) shows disturbed areas in orange. In areas of severe surface disruption from the fire scar and debris flows the two image pairs can't be matched and decorrelate (top right). In the middle panels, the radar images are overlaid on the structure damage map produced by the County of Santa Barbara. The fire scars and damage correspond well with the risk map (lower left) and damage map (lower right). With an operational system, products such as these have the potential to augment information available for search and rescue, and for damage assessment for government agencies or the insurance industry. Radar has the advantage of being available in all weather conditions, as it can image through clouds.

  • NASA’s DC-8 “Flying Laboratory” is on its way to Germany for a joint flight campaign to sample clouds, contrails or aircraft emissions. Credits: NASA

    NASA Takes International Aviation Research to the ‘Max’

    NASA’s ongoing research into what happens with engine performance, emissions and contrail formation when different types of fuels are used in jet engines is headed for the skies over Germany this month.

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