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NASA Radar Studies in Central America, Hispaniola Near Conclusion
February 12, 2010
 

Red and yellow areas show the wide areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic where NASA's UAVSAR airborne radar is creating 3-D maps of earthquake fault displacement.Red and yellow areas show the wide areas of Haiti (red) and the Dominican Republic (yellow) where NASA's UAVSAR airborne radar is creating line-of-sight relative displacement images that will allow mapping of possible earthquake fault displacements that may have occurred between repeat acquisitions. (NASA JPL SAR image) NASA radar imaging flights over Central America and the island of Hispaniola are scheduled to conclude the weekend of Feb. 13 - 14 after a three-week campaign imaging and measuring bio-mass in the rain forests, volcanoes and Mayan ruins in Central America and measuring possible post-seismic activity in Haiti and acquiring baseline radar images in case of future earthquakes in the Dominican Republic.

The modified Gulfstream III aircraft carries a sophisticated synthetic aperture radar developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory under its belly that is capable of spotting minute changes in the Earth's surface during precise repeat passes over targeted areas. An advanced research autopilot developed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center enables the aircraft to fly its repeat passes within less than 10 meters deviation from a previous track, despite its flight altitude of 41,000 feet and regardless of weather conditions aloft.

Following repeat pass flights over volcanoes in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica on Feb. 11, the Gulfstream III research aircraft is scheduled to fly to Puerto Rico Feb. 13 to conduct two final imaging flights over earthquake faults in Haiti on Saturday and the Dominican Republic on Sunday, Feb. 14. It is due to return to its base at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., Feb. 15. The synthetic aperture radar is carried in an eight-foot-long pod under the belly of NASA's Gulfstream-III research aircraft.The synthetic aperture radar is carried in an eight-foot-long pod under the belly of NASA's Gulfstream-III research aircraft. (NASA photo / Tom Tschida)

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