Status Reports

NASA’s G-III Radar to Image Volcanic Activity in Alaska, Cascades
07.09.09
 
The UAVSAR underbelly pod is in clear view as NASA's Gulfstream-III research aircraft banks away over Edwards AFB during aerodynamic clearance flights. NASA Dryden’s Gulfstream III environmental research aircraft carries a miniaturized synthetic aperture radar developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in its underbelly pod. (NASA photo / Lori Losey) NASA's Gulfstream III departs the Dryden Flight Research Center on July 21 for Anchorage, Alaska. Secured in a pod mounted on its belly, the aircraft is carrying the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar, or UAVSAR, developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This compact L-band wavelength radar uses pulses of microwave energy to detect and measure subtle deformations in the Earth's surface caused by potential volcanic or seismic activity.

As the G-III flies north, the radar will image mountains in the Cascade Range for changes in the surface that may represent volcanic activity. After the aircraft arrives in Anchorage, it will fly over the Aleutian Islands allowing the UAVSAR to image that volcanic chain for the same purpose.

The aircraft returns to Dryden on July 23 and will begin preparations for a vegetation study on the East Coast in early August.