Langley’s science researchers are measuring, monitoring, and modeling our planet’s atmosphere to learn how it is changing. Our goal is to understand how and why the changes are taking place and then share this knowledge with others, especially policymakers. We develop instrumentation used on satellites, research aircraft, and on the ground. Currently, we are measuring the outgoing energy reflected and emitted from Earth — one of the two most important long-term measurements for detecting climate change. By using a combination of instruments, we are studying the effects of clouds and aerosols on the heating and cooling of Earth. We’re also making measurements of aerosols, ozone, and CO2, and assessing the impact of human activities on the atmosphere. Our scientists also tackle climate by flying with their instruments into hurricanes to study how they form and gather in strength. With teams around the globe, we conduct atmospheric missions. As a result, we have collected one of the world’s most comprehensive and precise collections of climate data.
From concept to flight, our end-to-end technical capabilities and facilities enable the experimentation, testing, and validation needed to advance next-generation aerospace technologies. Langley has many unparalleled facilities, such as the National Transonic Facility, the Transonic Dynamics Tunnel, and the 8-Foot-High-Temperature Tunnel. Our ability to test from subsonic to hypersonic flight, along with our advanced labs and simulators, provides a unique environment for developing game-changing technologies and systems for future air and space transportation.
Often, we are asked to address international issues and to respond to urgent national problems. Recent examples include rescuing the Chilean miners, crash investigations, oil spills, and volcanic ash mitigation.
Where Do The Technologies Go?
The technologies we develop frequently find down-to-Earth applications. Langley inventors received the NASA Government Invention of the Year award for their “Ultrasonic Crimp Tool,” originally used by the Aircraft Aging and Durability Project to inspect connections on electrical wiring systems in commercial and military airplanes. A system initially created to detect clear air turbulence can now be used for earthquake detection, for predicting environmental and weather conditions, and for general-purpose sound pressure testing. The “Portable Infrasonic Detection System” also recently won a “green innovation” award. These technologies and many others are available for licensing (visit http://technologygateway.nasa.gov/)