NASA Ames leadership (me) arrived at Ny Alesund, Svalbard, Norway in the afternoon of July 13. What a beautiful setting: snow-capped mountains, glaciers calving icebergs into the bay, not a cloud in the sky. Temperature was in the high 50s. Guys were scraping paint from the side of a building with their shirts off! So much for the multi-layer winter garb we brought. I even brought our grad student, Matt Daniels in case a polar bear showed up and we needed to distract the bear while we fled – not a polar bear in sight, so he’s safe so far. Ny Alesund is a really cool research station with over 100 researchers present from many nations during the summer. Dinner discussions are really interesting as a result.
The Sierra UAV and CASIE research plans are ready to go. But test flights revealed some problems with the autopilot. We are calling back to the manufacturer in Oregon. Hopefully we will have it fixed and do test flights tomorrow (Tues) ready for first science flights Wednesday. I’d say “in the morning” – but when the sun doesn’t set ‘morning’ seems a little odd. We are really excited about the research we can do on polar ice characteristics. This is a lot like launching a satellite – so much depends on the equipment working perfectly and the weather cooperating for a launch.
Godspeed – CASIE!
Posted by Dr. Pete Worden, NASA Ames Center Director