In this winter, NASA pulled off a scientific mission like a double play in Hawaii. They studied on both coral reefs and volcanoes using the same instrument and aircraft.
NASA scientist said that this data will be used to monitor the ecosystem changes and natural hazards. Studying an active volcano from the air is must safer than the ground at the same time coral reefs may not offer the same risk.
Now it is too difficult to survey a large area using a boat that’s why NASA has been monitoring coral reefs by satellite and aircraft for several decades. Recently, the airborne efforts have used sensors that provide better spatial and spectral resolution than NASA satellite systems.
In a statement by Woody Turner from NASA headquarters in Washington, coral reefs are threatened by bleaching due to the rise of sea surface temperature and acidification of ocean waters. Over the last four years, NASA has flown a group of research over California.
They are carrying airborne prototypes of an instrument for future satellite mission called the Hypercritical infrared Image. The Golden State has a much vast landscape to test the instruments’ observation capabilities, but not coral reefs or erupting volcanoes. In this winter scientists filled those gap with HyspIRI Hawaii mission, Phys.Org reported.
From NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center California, according to satellite point of view HyspIRI Hawaii used a high-altitude ER-2 aircraft. This aircraft was based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and it can fly up to approximately 60,000 feet above earth’s atmosphere. There are two types of Airborne made by NASA scientist for current coral reef research.
Firstly, the Airborne Visible and Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), which is is an imaging spectrometer that observes the complete reflected spectrum of light in the visible and shortwave infrared wavelengths. Secondly, the MODIS-ASTER Airborne Simulator which is so called MASTER. It has multiple observational channels in the thermal infrared wavelengths. Together AVRIS and MASTER provide the powerful data for current coral reef research.