A NASA aircraft equipped with Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) flew above California fires on Sept. 3 and 10 to examine the ground below.

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NASA flew an aircraft equipped with Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) flew above California fires on Sept. 3 and 10. The smoke-penetrating UAVSAR enables scientists to get a close-up view of how these fires have altered the landscape. Attached to the bottom of the aircraft, the radar is flown repeatedly over an area to measure tiny changes in surface height with extreme accuracy.

The flight is part of the ongoing effort by NASA's Applied Sciences Disaster Program in the Earth Sciences Division, which generates maps and other data products that can be used by partner agencies on the ground to track fire hotspots, map the extent of the burn areas, and even measure the height of the smoke plumes that have drifted over California and neighboring states.

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