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ASCENDS Lidar Test Flights
ASCENDS Lidar Test Flights

Researchers from the Science Directorate at NASA Langley are working to better understand Earth's atmosphere and our changing climate. One group within the SD has partnered with ITT in Fort Wayne, Ind., to build and test a laser instrument called ASCENDS - short for Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons - to study atmospheric carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas that is know to influence climate change.

This fall, the teams met at the LaRC hangar to test-fly the instrument's Engineering Development Unit on the LaRC UC-12, a new aircraft at NASA Langley.

In this photo, Mike Dobbs, instrument Co-Principal Investigator from ITT, pours liquid nitrogen to be used to cool the laser detector while in flight. The UC-12 is directly behind Dobbs awaiting take-off.

Ultimately, the ASCENDS team hopes to see their instrument concept flown in space as Advanced CO2 and Climate Laser International Mission (ACCLAIM), one of the 15 missions of critical importance recommended by the 2007 decadal survey for Earth science.

Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

Page Last Updated: August 21st, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator