NASA snow chasers begin mission at Hunter Army Airfield

NASA snow chasers begin mission at Hunter Army Airfield

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - NASA scientists will begin their data collection mission into east coast winter storms in Savannah.

They’re doing this to better predict winter storms before they happen and give the public a better understanding of how they happen.

“Trying to understand what is in the atmosphere and of that day that caused these horrific events,” said Tim Williams, Research Test Pilot for Armstrong Flight Research Center with NASA.

Williams says this mission has been in the works for about two years. The first part of the $30 million mission begins this Friday and will end March 1.

And In order to do all of this, they’ll be flying in two different planes: NASA’s P-3 Orion and ER-2.

The ER-2 is a modified version of the U-2, which was originally used as spy planes during the Cold War. The traits that make the U-2 model great for military reconnaissance apply to scientific research as well.

Video of NASA’s ER-2 landing at Hunter Army Airfield:

NASA ER-2 weather plane lands at Hunter Army Airfield

“The kind of flying I’m doing now, and getting to work with NASA and be apart of their Earth Science Research program, that’s just a lot more satisfying for me," said Cory Bartholomew, NASA Research Pilot. "I dig being apart of the science.”

The ER-2 will be based out of Hunter Army Airfield and will fly up to 65,000 feet in the air to collect data. The planes will use different types of probes, sensors, and radars to measure things like temperature, humidity and the shapes of snowflakes.

Bartholomew has worked for NASA for more than 20 years. He says this mission is historic.

“To be part of the mission that collects this information, it’s a treat.”

NASA officials say the public will be able to access the information the Snow Chasers gather within the year. But for now, if you want more information on the mission you can visit their website.

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