|PROPOSAL NUMBER:||03- II E1.03-9561|
|SUBTOPIC TITLE:||In Situ Sensors|
|PROPOSAL TITLE:||Cloud Micro-sensors for Applications on Small UAVs and Balloons|
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER
(Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
3022 Sterling Circle, Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80301-2377
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes
TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
One of the key areas of study of NASA's Earth Science enterprise is the role played by clouds in climate change. The duration of conventional research aircraft is limited so that long-term measurements required to validate satellite observations are not practical. Small uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) and tethered balloons, however, are now capable of making sustained, long-term (30 hr) measurements, so that data sets can be collected that provide much better statistical comparisons with results from satellite retrieval algorithms. In Phase I we produced system designs and performed laboratory tests to investigate the feasibility of manufacturing a small, lightweight (< 1.5 Kg) cloud particle imager, called a Micro-CPI, for application on the Aerosonde Piccolo, the most-widely used small UAV for weather research. In Phase II, Micro-CPIs will be fabricated and flight-tested on the Aerosonde UAV at the Aerosonde facility located at the NASA Wallops Island Research Facility. The Aerosonde Corporation has agreed to commit technical consulting and materials to support the Phase II effort. The Micro-CPI will measure the size distributions of both water and ice particles. The extremely high resolution images (3-micron) of ice crystals can be used to determine their shape and light-scattering properties, information that is crucial for reliable validation of satellite retrievals used to monitor global climate change.
POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Non-NASA commercial applications are varied and myriad. The Micro-CPI will be used by Aerosonde in a variety of projects, such as the upcoming Antarctic Regional Interactions Meteorology Experiment (RIME), to make low-level measurements of sea spray over the ocean surface where it is unsafe to operate piloted research aircraft, and in support of military operations to determine cloud properties that affect the targeting of electromagnetic radiation used to guide armament. Low-cost Micro-CPIs can be used in industry to measure the drop-size distributions of paint and agricultural sprays.
POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The primary NASA application of the Micro-CPI will be to conduct long-duration measurements of cloud properties using the Aerosonde UAV. These measurements will be used to validate remote retrievals of cloud properties from NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS). The EOS is a constellation of satellites intended to monitor clouds, aerosols, oceans, land-masses and their effects on climate change over the next 10 to 20 years. Additional NASA applications will include measurements of cloud properties in isolated regions, such as Polar Regions and the Tropics where it is impractical to use conventional research aircraft.