A few hours into the flight from the Azores to Greenland we started seeing sea ice below and then the Greenland ice sheet. I’d never seen this before and it fascinated me. Sometimes you could see large rock formations poking through the top, other times it was a flat white waste-land, with drifts and patterns … More Ice sheets, arctic foxes and partying like you’ve not seen the sun in 4 months!
Terciera island, in the Azores, was beautiful. Stunning coastline – ranging from sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs, turquoise water, charming Portuguese towns, fields of cows separated by dry stone walls everywhere. The first day we were there I had to do some maintenance on the plane, but in the evening we drove around the coast … More ATom in the Azores
Ascension Island, 1600km west of Africa, 2250km east of Brazil, and 1300km north west of its closest neighbor, St Helena (population around 4000) is rather remote. It’s also rather young, having been formed by volcanic activity just a million years ago. We’re grateful that it was, since it provides us with a strategic place to land part way up … More Island Hopping: ATom Style!
NASA ATom arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, on the Straights of Magellan at 3am on Saturday. The 8h time difference from New Zealand, and losing a day on the ground due to our delayed departure from Christchurch rather threw most of us. I slept a few hours on arrival, then used Saturday morning to process … More A day of extremes: from the furthest south from the most remote
The ATom mission has now flown from California to the equator and back, to Alaska, to Hawaii, to Fiji, to New Zealand on this second deployment. I met it in Christchurch, New Zealand to swap out with my colleague Aga, who flew this first half. We had a few days on the ground for … More False Starts and Icebergs
So the second deployment of NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography Mission is underway. My colleague, Agnieszka, is flying the first half, down the Pacific, and I’m to meet the plane and take over in Christchurch, New Zealand. Rather than head home to Boulder for the 3 days, and then back to LA (where the mission departs from … More A Brief Pause in New Zealand
Our second test flight was a 7 hour excursion south over the pacific. It’s good to do longer test flights as some potential instrument issues could only show u after a longer time in flight. We set off at 9am, which mean pre-flight from 6am, relatively civilized as out pre-flights tend to go. It was … More And the Science Begins!