A specially-designed aircraft from the US space agency NASA is due to arrive at Keflavík airport today, on a mission to help save the planet.
The aircraft in question, an Earth Resources (ER-2) high-altitude science aircraft, will be spending the next month in Iceland, with its base of operations at Keflavík Airport. A statement from the US embassy details the purpose of its mission:
The mission will assist global warming research by developing better methods to measure the melting of the ice in Polar regions. The ER-2 aircraft will fly high-altitude missions over Greenland in April to test the accuracy of a newly developed laser, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experiment Lidar, or MABEL. The laser simulates a similar instrument planned for NASA’s IceSat-2 environmental satellite scheduled for launch in 2016.
According to NASA, this is a part of a much larger mission called Operation IceBridge. Conducted in the Arctic in March and April and the Antarctic during October and November, NASA says, the mission is “the largest survey of Earth’s polar ice ever flown.”
For those curious, the plane in Iceland will be piloted by Timothy L. Williams, a research test pilot and veteran of the U.S. Air Force. His NASA bio can be read here.
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