Prototype Space Sensors Take Test Ride on NASA ER-2

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Scientists recently finished exam flights with prototypes of intensity satellite sensors over a Western United States probing simple scholarship questions about aerosols, clouds, atmosphere peculiarity and tellurian sea ecosystems.

The viewpoint from NASA’s ER-2 drifting during approximately 65,000 ft. nearby a tranquil glow blazing nearby Flagstaff Airzona during a Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) airborne debate on Nov. 7th. Credit: NASA / Stu Broce

The moody debate called Aerosol Characterization from Polarimeter and Lidar (ACEPOL) sought to exam capabilities of several due instruments for a Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem (ACE) pre-formulation study.

Aerosols are tiny plain or glass particles dangling in a Earth’s atmosphere, like excellent dust, smoke, pollen or soot. These particles separate and catch object and are vicious to a arrangement of clouds and precipitation. Scientists can investigate this sparse light regulating instruments like polarimeters, that magnitude a tone and polarization of a sparse light, and lidars, that use lasers to examine a atmosphere. Together these information sets yield pivotal information about aerosol properties including size, figure and chemical composition—information that provides improved bargain and comment of their effects on weather, meridian and atmosphere quality.

The cock-pit viewpoint finder in a ER-2 shows a tranquil glow blazing nearby Flagstaff, Arizona on Nov. 7, 2017. This tiny glow eventuality offering a ACEPOL scholarship group a opposite exam sourroundings to observe with a polarimeter and lidar instruments onboard a aircraft.
Credits: NASA / Stu Broce

Prior to being launched into space, airborne versions of satellite sensors typically take a exam float on NASA’s ER-2 high altitude aircraft. The platform, formed during NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif., flies during altitudes of adult to 70,000 ft., and provides a vantage prove and conditions identical to space. By drifting these instruments on an aircraft before a responsibility of rising them into space, scientists and engineers can make adjustments to a hardware and information retrieval algorithms.

The ER-2 also enables scientists to observe specific events of seductiveness like wildfires or volcanic eruptions to benefit a some-more extensive collection of opposite forms of aerosols in opposite conditions.  The aircraft exam proviso in sensor growth is useful for ensuring instruments are collecting both accurate and useful information before to a time a final chronicle of a sensors creates a outing into space.

HSRL-2 rough information from a ER2 ACEPOL moody on Nov. 7 display a structure of aerosol and clouds in a atmosphere along a moody track. The belligerent is black, dim blue indicates transparent air, white indicates H2O clouds. Transparent cirrus clouds high in a atmosphere uncover adult in yellow and orange colors. Yellow, immature and blue colors during reduce altitudes prove aerosol. Credits: NASA / Sharon Burton

In further to contrast capabilities of new sensors, ACEPOL flights also supposing calibration and analysis information for NASA’s CALIPSO satellite lidar by entertainment satellite underpasses as partial of their moody plans. In further to comparisons with CALIPSO, ACEPOL also contributes to a growth of destiny satellite missions including a European Space Agency’s EarthCare, a European Organization for a Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites METOP-SG , and NASA’s MAIA and PACE programs.

The group finished 9 flights that wrapped adult mid-November, watching targets like California’s Central Valley and a Pacific Ocean, and as distant easterly as Arizona, where a group celebrated fume from tranquil timberland fires nearby Flagstaff.

The  ER-2’s cargo enclosed 4 airborne polarimeters (AirHARP, AirMSPI, AirSPEX and RSP) and dual lidar instruments (CPL and HSRL-2). Each of a polarimeters used opposite techniques and angles to magnitude and record data. The instruments also differed from one another in distance and power. From an engineering perspective, a ultimate idea of a ACEPOL goal was to improved know how those altogether differences interpret into information collection.

ER-2 moody lane tone coded by aerosol volume for moody on Nov 7 for a ACEPOL campaign. Color coding indicates a volume of aerosol in a atmosphere, with orange and red colors indicating some-more aerosol, according to HSRL-2 rough data. Aerosol can embody smoke, pollution, dirt and sea salt.
Credits: NASA / Sharon Burton

The mixed of a polarimeter and lidar instruments, along with belligerent formed information from still atmosphere peculiarity dimensions stations yield scientists with a some-more finish design of a three-dimensional placement of aerosols in a Earth’s atmosphere. Utilizing a accumulation of opposite approaches for collecting information also enables scientists to compute several forms of aerosols (e.g., smoke, dust, pollution) and clouds (cirrus, stratus, etc.).

The ACEPOL goal concerned partnership between mixed NASA centers, including Langley Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, a Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and a Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The goal also enclosed general partnership with a Netherlands Institute for Space Research, that flew a AirSPEX instrument on house a ER-2 for a second time. The instrument done a lass moody on a ER-2 in Jan 2016.

Source: NASA

 

 

 

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