A team from the NASA Langley Research Center mounted the Exelis Multifunctional Fiber Laser LIDAR on a DC-8 aircraft and then measured carbon dioxide concentrations over different surfaces and conditions during the tests, Exelis said Tuesday.
For the next step, the company and NASA will aim to advance the measurement concept using a high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle.
“The science community has stated clearly, the ability to improve climate models depends directly on our ability to obtain more accurate CO2 measurements,“ said Eric Webster, vice president of Exelis weather systems.
LIDAR systems are built to help scientists map global carbon sources and sinks as they update weather simulations.
Exelis helped conduct the test under a ninth task order through an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from the Langley Center.
NASA is evaluating the system as part of a mission to identify the planet's carbon dioxide processes at all times and conditions of the day and night.