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Let It Snow for Science

Let It Snow for Science

When the weather outside is frightful…

Science in the field gets even more delightful. Two different missions are in the field right now, studying snow and how it affects communities around the country.

From our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the IMPACTS mission is flying up and down the East Coast, investigating how snow forms inside clouds. In Grand Mesa, Colorado, SnowEx’s teams on the ground and in the air are taking a close look at how much water is stored in snow.

Let It Snow for Science

Hate going out in the storm? The IMPACTS mission can help with that! IMPACTS uses two planes – a P-3 Orion and an ER-2 – flying through and high above the clouds to study where intense bands of snowfall form. Better understanding where intense snow will fall can improve forecast models down the road — helping prepare communities for snowstorms.

Let It Snow for Science

Cameras mounted on the wings of the P3 took microscopic images of snowflakes, like this one.

Let It Snow for Science

At the same time, the SnowEx team is in Colorado, studying the depth and density of snow. Researchers are making radar spirals with snowmobiles and working in giant snow pits to measure things like snow water equivalent, or how much water is stored in snow.

Let It Snow for Science

SnowEx is helping us better understand snow’s role in ecosystems and human systems, like irrigation for agriculture. If you want to bring some corn for popping, SnowEx’s science can help grow that crop.

Let It Snow for Science

Follow along with our teams as they brave the cold and snow: https://twitter.com/nasaexpeditions

 Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com 

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