MODIFIED U-2 SPY PLANE PART OF MISSION
NASA's ER-2 Flies Over Russia
KIRUNA, SWEDEN: NASA's
high-flying ER-2, a modified design of Lockheed's U-2 aircraft,
completed its first science flight through Russian airspace this
week in support of the largest international ozone field experiment
to date over the Arctic.
The six-hour flight that passed southwest of
Moscow Jan. 27 was closely coordinated with Russian observers. The
single-seat aircraft, based at NASA's Dryden Flight Research
Center, Edwards, Calif., carried instruments to collect data for
NASA's SAGE III Ozone Loss and Validation Experiment (SOLVE). SOLVE
is managed by the Upper Atmosphere Research Program of NASA's
Office of Earth Science.
Scientists are hoping the
ER-2's stratospheric measurements will help them better understand
the complicated chemistry involved with ozone loss. NASA is working
with the European Commission-sponsored Third European Stratospheric
Experiment on Ozone (THESEO) 2000. Research teams include
scientists from NASA, Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada.
Another NASA flying
laboratory, NASA Dryden's DC-8, also flew through Russian airspace
in conjunction with the ER-2. The DC-8 flew its last mission over
Russia's Franz Josef Land during SOLVE's first phase in
The NASA planes and the
field experiments are based north of the Arctic Circle in Kiruna,
Sweden. A large hangar built especially for research, "Arena
Arctica," houses the instrumented aircraft and the scientists.
Scientists have observed
unusually low levels of ozone over the Arctic during recent
winters, raising concerns that ozone depletion there could become
more widespread as in the Antarctic ozone hole. Scientists also
hope to forecast when the Arctic ozone may return to normal.
The third phase of the SOLVE
field campaign ends in March.
For more information on
SOLVE, check the internet at:
For THESEO 2000, see:
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