News

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 find...

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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 A...

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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 ...

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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...

An international team of researchers, including a NASA glaciologist, has discovered a large meteorite impact crater hiding beneath more than a half-mi...

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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 icebe...

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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 Aeros...

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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 ...

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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.