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Although the instrument is a 50-band spectrometer, the digitizer was configured for each mission to record a pre-selected group of 12 spectral bands during the flight. For most of these missions the digitizer was configured to record four 10-bit channels and seven 8-bit channels. 47 NASA officials recognized that a sensor package that could be mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft would provide greater flexibility, and tasked researchers at Ames with developing instrumentation and demonstrating that scientifically valuable data could be gathered using UAS technology.
Experience with U-2 imagery has shown the data helped emergency response personnel contain fires sooner with less manpower and equipment than would have been possible otherwise. 46 In 1981 and 1989 NASA acquired two ER-2 aircraft, a larger and more capable version of the U-2 that offered a marked improvement in payload capacity, endurance, and range. The ER-2 was capable of carrying NASA’s Moderate Imaging Spectroradiometer – MODIS – Airborne Simulator (MAS) instrument, a modified Daedalus Wildfire scanning spectrometer that provides spectral information similar to that provided by MODIS launched on the EOS-AM satellite.
Five imaging lines were run over the Zaca fire burn area using a spectral band suitable for the BAER project. Ikhana WSFM project representatives were deployed to the NIFC to assist with data evaluation. Teams were also sent to two active fires to help incident commanders with data interpretation and CDE visualization. S. Forest Service, assisted with the GW fire in Oregon, while another from NASA Ames worked the 45 The route for WSFM-2 covered fires as far away as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Air traffic controllers rerouted the Ikhana to avoid potential weather hazards over northern Nevada.