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NASA Using Drones to Help Predict Hurricanes

By: WBOC/CBS
By: WBOC/CBS

Courtesy: NASA

Courtesy: NASA

Although scientists say this has been a quiet hurricane season, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is still working to help people prepare for storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.

On Tuesday morning (9/10), NASA flew a former military Global Hawk drone from Wallops Island, Virginia directly into an African dust storm to storm chase. It says the Global Hawk drone is part of a project in which scientists are using drones to collect research about storms to better predict future potential threats.

During this project, the drones are flown above storms in the Atlantic Ocean. There, the unmanned aircraft collect data using various tools. One tool, a dropsonde, is a paper towel roll-sized tube with a parachute. It has GPS sensors inside that can tell scientists its exact location.

NASA scientists say the use of these drones is a breakthrough in storm research. In the past, United States research planes couldn't reach the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. Now, the Global Hawks are able to reach this area and can fly for up to 30 hours.


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