• Wallops Aircraft Supporting NASA Science Projects from Pole to Pole

    The fleet of aircraft at the Wallops Flight Facility that support NASA’s airborne sciences program are preparing for a busy year as the agency continues several projects investigating critical scientific questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.

  • As the DC-8 flies, these inlets collect air into the more than 20 scientific instruments aboard, which measure various atmospheric gases and pollutants. Credits: NASA/Roisin Commane

    NASA Airborne Mission Chases Air Pollution Through the Seasons

    A NASA airborne mission will take a world-wide survey of these seasonal transformations by flying from the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, down into the sunny summer in the Southern Hemisphere and back again

  • Three new NASA field research campaigns get underway around the world this year and nine continue fieldwork to give scientists a deeper understanding of how our home planet works. Credits: NASA

    NASA Plans Another Busy Year for Earth Science Fieldwork

    NASA scientists are crisscrossing the globe in 2017 – from a Hawaiian volcano to Colorado mountain tops and west Pacific islands – to investigate critical scientific questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.

  • Students from Osan Middle School and Walter Klein (far right) after a tour of the DC-8 at Osan Air Base in South Korea (April 2016). Credits: Emily Schaller / NASA

    Navigating the Next Generation

    Walter Klein travels all over the world as a navigator for NASA’s DC-8 airborne laboratoryOn top of all of his responsibilities as DC-8 navigator, Klein has a deep commitment to sharing the excitement of NASA Airborne Science Program missions with students, teachers and the public. 

  • NASA’s ER-2 takes off from its base of operations at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Building 703 in Palmdale, California to test instruments that will support upcoming science flights for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R-series.

    NASA ER-2 Prepares to Support NOAA GOES-R Satellite

    Over the next six months, NASA will be working with NOAA to calibrate sensors and validate data transmitted down from the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) using NASA’s ER-2 high-altitude aircraft.

  • 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 will likely tie its 2012 campaign record for the most research flights carried out during a single Antarctic season.

  • 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 West Antarctica is one area that scientists try to examine each year.

  • 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 observed in West Antarctica and offer an unprecedented direct view of intense ice melting from the floating undersides of glaciers. The results highlight how the interaction between ocean conditions and the bedrock beneath a glacier can influence the glacier's evolution, with implications for understanding future ice loss from Antarctica and global sea level rise.

  • 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, the mission is based in Punta Arenas, a city at the southern tip of Chile. From there, IceBridge is carrying 12-hour flights back and forth to Antarctica, covering most of the western section of the frozen continent – the region that is experiencing the fastest changes and is Antarctica’s biggest contributor to sea level rise.

  • 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 measurements of Hurricane Matthew.  The unmanned Global Hawk will gather scientific data in support of NOAA’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) mission.

  • 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 CARbon Airborne Flux Experiment or CARAFE, which will measure the exchange of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane between the Earth and the atmosphere in the region. In addition, water vapor, temperature, and vertical wind measurements will be taken.

  • 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 Australia for a two-month investigation of the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef ecosystem.

  • Helheim Glacier, with its characteristic wishbone-shaped channels, as seen from about 20,000 feet in the sky. Credits: NASA/Operation IceBridge

    Science Flights Study Effect of Summer Melt on Greenland Ice Sheet

    Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice, is flying in Greenland for the second time this year, to observe the impact of the summer melt season on the ice sheet. The IceBridge flights, which began on Aug. 27 and will continue until Sept. 16, are mostly repeats of lines that the team flew in early May, so that scientists can observe changes in ice elevation between the spring and late summer.

  • Global Hawk arrives at KWAL

    NASA Global Hawk alerts NOAA of Gaston’s intensification

    NOAA’s National Weather Service National Hurricane Center used real-time weather data from the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft to upgrade a tropical storm to a hurricane in the early morning hours Thursday.

  • The Namibian coast of southwest Africa (far left) is a unique natural laboratory with both persistent low-level clouds and a steady supply of tiny aerosol particles in the form of smoke from inland fires that mix with the clouds. Credits: NASA

    NASA Flies to Africa to Study Climate Effects of Smoke on Clouds

    NASA scientists and two research aircraft are on their way to a unique natural laboratory off the Atlantic coast of southwest Africa to study a major unknown in future climate prediction.

  • An example of a methane plume observation by NASA’s AVIRIS-NG spectrometer instrument. This plume was confirmed by JPL’s ground team to be caused by a leaking pipeline. The leak was reported to the pipeline operating company, which shut down the pipeline and repaired it. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    NASA Study Analyzes Four Corners Methane Sources

    In an extensive airborne survey, a NASA-led team has analyzed a previously identified "hot spot" of methane emissions in the Four Corners region of the United States, quantifying both its overall magnitude and the magnitudes of its sources. The study finds that just 10 percent of the individual methane sources are contributing half of the emissions.

  • A large pool of melt water over sea ice, as seen from an Operation IceBridge flight over the Beaufort Sea on July 14, 2016. During this summer campaign, IceBridge will map the extent, frequency and depth of melt ponds like these to help scientists forecast the Arctic sea ice yearly minimum extent in September. Credits: NASA/Operation IceBridge

    NASA Science Flights Target Melting Arctic Sea Ice

    This summer, with sea ice across the Arctic Ocean shrinking to below-average levels, a NASA airborne survey of polar ice just completed its first flights. Its target: aquamarine pools of melt water on the ice surface that may be accelerating the overall sea ice retreat

  • Probes on the outside of NASA's DC-8 aircraft to collect atmospheric samples. The DC-8 aircraft will be outfitted with 20 instruments for the ATom mission. Credits: NASA

    NASA's Airborne Mission to Explore the Global Atmosphere

    The Atmospheric Tomography, or ATom, mission is the first to survey the atmosphere over the oceans. Scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory will journey from the North Pole south over the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand and then across to the tip of South America and north up the Atlantic Ocean to Greenland. ATom will discover how much pollution survives to the most remote corners of the earth and assess how the environment has changed as a result.

  • The Atmospheric Carbon and Transport–America, or ACT-America, campaign will observe greenhouse gas transport with instruments on two NASA aircraft including the C-130H from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

    NASA Flights to Track Greenhouse Gases Across Eastern US

    Atmospheric Carbon and Transport–America, or ACT-America, is a multi-year airborne campaign that will measure concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in relation to weather systems. The study will gather real-time measurements from research aircraft and ground stations to improve the ability to detect and quantify the surface sources and sinks of the gases.

  • Dead and dying ponderosa (Pinus ponderosa) and sugar (P. lambertiana) pine on the Hume Lake Ranger District, Sequoia National Forest, California. Credits: USDA Forest Service

    NASA Maps California Drought Effects on Sierra Trees

    A new map created with measurements from an airborne instrument developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, reveals the devastating effect of California’s ongoing drought on Sierra Nevada conifer forests.

  • Kyle Kabasares (left), physics major at University of California Merced, and Mariah Heck (right), geophysics and geology major at University of Tulsa hold signs to welcome home the DC-8 crew home from the Korean U.S. Air Quality mission. Credits: NSERC Photo / Jane Peterson

    Students to Study Air Quality

    Starting this week, 32 undergraduate students begin an eight-week NASA airborne science field experience designed to immerse them in the agency's Earth science research.

  • Earth Expeditions: Josh Willis OMG Mission Update

    On Friday June 3, 2016, the Oceans Melting Greenland mission had its first successful test of the system for dropping ocean probes from the Gulfstream-III aircraft into the ocean. The team dropped a single probe into the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles offshore of Houston as a T-38 chase aircraft monitored. Learn more about OMG and #EarthExpeditions:

  • Upper part of Midgard Glacier system in southeast Greenland. Photo taken during NASA's Operation IceBridge Helheim-Kangerdlugssuap Gap B mission on May 17, 2016. Credits: NASA/Maria-José Viñas

    NASA’s Operation IceBridge Completes 2016 Arctic Spring Campaign

    Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice, ended its eighth spring Arctic campaign on May 21. During their five weeks of operations, mission scientists carried out six research flights over sea ice and ten over land ice.

  • PRISM was designed to focus on hard-to-see phenomena in difficult coastal light conditions. Credits: Flickr user Ken Lund, CC BY-SA 2.0

    New NASA Instrument Brings Coasts and Coral into Focus

    NASA's upcoming Coral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) field experiment will observe entire reef ecosystems in more of the world's reef area – hundreds of times more -- than has ever been observed before.

  • Subsidence in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, from June 2009 to July 2012, as seen by NASA’s UAVSAR instrument. The measured displacements are a combination of movement of the ground and of individual structures. The inset at lower right shows the parish location within Greater New Orleans.

    New Study Maps Rate of New Orleans Sinking

    New Orleans and surrounding areas continue to sink at highly variable rates due to a combination of natural geologic and human-induced processes, finds a new NASA/university study using NASA airborne radar.

  • All in the NAAMES of Ocean Ecosystems and Climate

    NAAMES, or the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study, is a five-year NASA-funded study that aims to better define the relationship between the ocean and the atmosphere. NAAMES is the first NASA Earth Venture-Suborbital mission focused on studying the coupled ocean ecosystem and atmosphere using ships and aircraft simultaneously.



  • 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 Quality study (KORUS-AQ). The KORUS-AQ field campaign will combine observations from aircraft, satellites, ships and ground stations with air quality models to assess and monitor air quality across urban, rural and coastal areas.

  • 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 spring Arctic campaign. This year’s science flights over Arctic sea and land ice will continue until May 21.

  • 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 Atlantic Ocean to help scientists understand a major challenge to our understanding of climate science.

  • 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 into challenging questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.