NASA’s one-of-kind, high-altitude climate monitoring plane, the ER-2, landed in Recife on September 29, as part of its return trip to the United States following a month long mission from California, to Recife, to Walvis Bay, Namibia to observe above cloud aerosols and how those particles interact with clouds and change their ability to warm or cool the planet.
The coast of Namibia is one of three places on Earth with persistent low-level clouds, and the only such location with a steady supply of tiny aerosol particles in the form of smoke from inland fires that mix with the clouds. Working with another NASA plane, the P-3, the ER-2, which flies at 65,000 feet, is able to make measurements similar to those acquired from satellites.
The consulate organized an academic visit for 40 high school students for the plane’s landing at a private hangar in Recife’s international airport. The press and students had an opportunity to meet the pilot, interview NASA staff about the plane and the mission, and see one of the specialized space suits that the pilot has to wear to fly the ER-2 close up.