Expendable Guided Dropsonde
Given the constraints associated with current airborne host platforms, a technological solution is needed for efficiently obtaining meteorological data at targeted locations and altitudes. A combination of using manned and unmanned aircraft with guided dropsondes is a promising and achievable path forward for meeting this need. Guided dropsondes have significant implications to advance research in nearly all scientific disciplines requiring in situ atmospheric measurements. Compared to conventional free-fall dropsondes that rely on parachutes, guided dropsondes could offer speed controlled descents combined with loiter abilities. This can potentially yield time averaged data for a particular regionÂ?a feature not currently available with current dropsonde technology. The guided dropsonde's ability to move to targeted areas of interest gains sensors an unprecedented level of access to extreme areas and events. Being able to move to a designated area will also offer the potential to retrieve the guided dropsonde, giving it the capability to become an in situ sampler. For volcanic eruptions or pollution studies, this can become a powerful new tool where few options, if any, currently exist.
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