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A penguin near Punta Arena, Chile, photographed in its natural summer habitat during NASA's AirSAR 2004 campaign.

Photo Number: ED04-0056-121
Photo Date: March 13, 2004
Formats: 357x640 JPEG Image (151 KBytes)
713x1280 JPEG Image (482 KBytes)
1670x3000 JPEG Image (2075 KBytes)
A penguin near Punta Arena, Chile, photographed in its natural summer habitat during NASA's AirSAR 2004 campaign. AirSAR 2004 is a three-week expedition in Central and South America by an international team of scientists that is using an all-weather imaging tool, called the Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AirSAR), located onboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory. Scientists from many parts of the world are combining ground research with NASA's AirSAR technology to improve and expand on the quality of research they are able to conduct.
AirSAR collects multi-frequency and multi-polarization radar data for a variety of science applications. It also acquires data in interferometric modes, providing topographic information (cross-track mode) or ocean current information (along-track interferometry). This March 2004 deployment was planned to:
  • Study the extent and distribution of archeological Mayan civilization (using foliage-penetrating radar)
  • Study the glaciers of Patagonia and the Antarctic peninsula
  • Investigate new techniques for the measurement of the forest structure of dense tropical forests
  • Fill in the largest "void" in the SRTM-derived map of South American topography
  • Collect additional data for various research initiatives

During the deployment data is collected over Central and South America and Antarctica. During the approximately 100 flight hours, AirSAR is acquiring polarimetric and/or interferometric data along a 20,000 km track, or about 200,000 sq. km of data over 40 sites for 30 scientists. AirSAR will collect data related to the following NASA Code YS science programs:

  • Cryospheric Science
  • Land Cover/Land Use Change
  • Natural Hazards
  • Physical Oceanography
  • Terrestrial Ecology
  • Hydrology

NASA used a DC-8 aircraft as a flying science laboratory. The platform aircraft, was based at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., collected data for many experiments in support of scientific projects serving the world scientific community. Included in this community were NASA, federal, state, academic and foreign investigators. Data gathered by the DC-8 at flight altitude and by remote sensing has been used for scientific studies in archeology, ecology, geography, hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, volcanology, atmospheric chemistry, soil science and biology.

NASA Photo by: Jim Ross
Keywords: DC-8, airborne science, airborne laboratory, AirSAR, Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, South America, Chile, Patagonia, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Last Modified: March 19, 2004
Responsible NASA Official: Marty Curry
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