News

  • Unmanned NASA Aircraft Crashes During Science Mission

    NASA is investigating the loss of a small unpiloted aircraft over the Arctic Ocean Friday, July 26, while it conducted research on sea ice. The Sensor Integrated Environmental Remote Research Aircraft (SIERRA) was about four hours into a planned six-hour flight when it experienced a problem that caused it to lose altitude and crash in the ocean. The incident occurred at 6:15 p.m. AKDT (10:15 p.m. EDT).

    The flight originated from Oliktok Point, off the northern coast of Alaska. The crash site is extremely remote, about 40 miles farther north in the Beaufort Sea. No one on the ground was injured. Environmental impacts at the crash site are expected to be minimal because of the aircraft’s small size. At the time, SIERRA had less than six gallons of fuel and oil aboard. A mishap investigation is underway.

    The aircraft was one of three unmanned aerial vehicles taking part in a science experiment called the Marginal Ice Zone Observations and Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX). Mission objectives were to probe the ocean's role in recent declines in Arctic sea ice using a sophisticated set of radars and other instruments.

    SIERRA was a medium-class, unmanned aircraft system with a wingspan of 20 feet and a weight of 400 pounds. It was designed to perform remote sensing and atmospheric sampling missions in isolated and often inaccessible regions, such as over mountain ranges, the open ocean, or the Arctic and Antarctic regions. NASA acquired SIERRA from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in 2006 and conducted its first mission surveying sea ice off the coast of Svalbard, Norway, in 2009. The vehicle was valued at $250,000.

    For more information about SIERRA, visit:

     

    http://airbornescience.nasa.gov/aircraft/SIERRA

     

    For more information about the MIZOPEX mission, visit:

     

    http://ccar.colorado.edu/mizopex/index.html

     

    Ruth Marlaire

    Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

    650-604-4709

    ruth.marlaire@nasa.gov

     

    J.D. Harrington

    Headquarters, Washington           

    202-358-5241

    j.d.harrington@nasa.gov

  • Don Blake, (second from left) professor of chemistry and Earth system science at the University of California - Irvine, briefs Student Airborne Research Program interns on the components of the Whole Air Sampler instrument.

    NASA's Student Airborne Research Program: Learning by Doing

    32 college students in the 2013 Student Airborne Research Program were involved in every aspect of a NASA science mission over California.

  • Image of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf from the German Aerospace Center Earth monitoring satellite TerraSAR-X captured on July 8, 2013.

    Antarctic Glacier Calves Iceberg One-Fourth Size of Rhode Island

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  • Numerous instrument probes protrude from NASA's DC-8 Airborne Science flying laboratory as it flies an instrument checkout flight.

    NASA's DC-8 Flight Helps Validate New Technologies

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  • Students climb onboard the NASA DC-8

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  • The MASTER instrument on NASA's ER-2 high-altitude science aircraft captured this infrared image of the Powerhouse wildfire

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  • graphical representation of Antarctic bedrock (vertical scale exaggerated)

    IceBridge Contributes to New Map of Antarctica

    The new map's improved precision will lead to better calculations of Antarctic ice volume and its potential contribution to sea level rise.

  • Technicians securing NASA's Global Hawk unmanned aircraft in the aircraft hangar

    NASA’s HS3 Mission Aircraft to Double Team 2013 Hurricane Season

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    HS3 Mission May Target Cape Verde Island Hurricanes in 2013

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  •  NASA's two Global Hawks line up nose-to-nose on the ramp at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center

    NASA, Northrop Grumman Continue Partnership For Science

    NASA and Northrop Grumman extend a no-cost agreement enabling NASA to continue Earth science research with the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system.

  • Teachers Mark Buesing and Jette Poulsen aboard the NASA P-3B during an IceBridge survey flight

    Science Teachers See NASA IceBridge Research

    NASA's Operation IceBridge hosted three science teachers during their recent Arctic field campaign, giving these educators a first-hand polar science experience that they could use to teach and inspire their students.

  • NASA Wallops Aircraft Office flight engineer Brian Yates meets his children after the P-3B returned from Operation IceBridge’s Arctic campaign.

    NASA IceBridge Returns Home

    The IceBridge team has returned from the Arctic and have started processing collected data and planning for the Antarctic campaign coming up later this year.

  • Mt. Dana and Dana Plateau

    NASA Opens New Era in Measuring Western U.S. Snowpack

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  • Glacier in the Wrangell mountains

    NASA Radar Collects GLISTIN Ice and Glacier Data

    NASA's C-20A-mounted UAVSAR collected data about glaciers, snow and ice during recent flights over Alaska, the Beaufort Sea and the Sierra Nevada.

  • Saunders Island and Wolstenholme Fjord with Kap Atholl in the background seen during an IceBridge survey flight.

    NASA's IceBridge Finishing Up Successful Arctic Campaign

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  • ACCESS Media Day in the Hangar

    Lights, Camera, ACCESS

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  • NASA ER-2

    NASA's HyspIRI Imager: More Than Meets the Eye

    Prior to flying the Hyperspectral Infrared Imager in space, preparatory science investigations are underway using a similar sensor on NASA's ER-2.

  • AMS Sensor Image

    Media Invited to View Wildfire Sensor On US Forest Service Jet

    Media are invited to view the USFS jet on the tarmac in front of the Moffett Tower and talk to USFS, NASA and CALFIRE personnel.

  • Ice covered fjord on Baffin Island

    Operation IceBridge Continues Arctic Flights

    IceBridge closed out the fourth week of its Arctic campaign with a flight over the striking landscape of eastern Greenland's Geikie Peninsula and a survey of a Canadian ice cap.

  • AMS instrument image

    NASA Imaging Sensor Prepares for Western Wildfire Season

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  • Napo River in Ecuador and Peru

    NASA Flies Radar South on Wide-Ranging Expedition

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  • RQ-14 Dragon Eye UAVs

    NASA Flies Dragon Eye Unmanned Aircraft Into Volcanic Plume

    NASA Earth science researchers recently traveled to Turrialba Volcano, near San Jose, Costa Rica to study its chemical environment.

  • The NASA P-3B sits in the hangar at Thule Air Base

    NASA Begins New Season of Arctic Ice Science Flights

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  • NASA Langley's heavily instrumented HU-25 Falcon measures chemical components of the exhaust streaming from the DC-8's engines

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  • The NASA P-3B made low approaches at local airports during the mission, getting as low as 100 feet to make key air quality measurements. Shown here is the Bakersfield regional airport.

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  • Students spelled out "HI" as the NASA P-3B aircraft flew over them during the DISCOVER-AQ field campaign

    NASA/GLOBE Hand Down Pollution Studies to Calif. Students

    Teachers are parlaying interest in the DISCOVER-AQ campaign into science lessons for students.

  • Sea ice ridge at one of the CryoSat-2 validation sites

    NASA Scientists Part of Arctic Sea Ice Study

    NASA data and scientists contributed to a new study out of the United Kingdom that shows Arctic sea ice volume declining in recent years.

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