o see if engineers could create an "Innovative Naval Prototype" instrument very quickly, at low-cost, and make it work for a year, said Davis, who worked for several years at the laboratory before joining the OSU faculty.
That first goal was achieved last October and now the focus is on the second goal, conducting useful science with this unique data set.
"We've already talked to 40-50 interested scientists and shared some preliminary data," he said, "and they've been excited about the potential. They all want a piece of it."
Some of the images HICO has provided have revealed interesting data:
- Images of the Han River in South Korea outline the dynamic, rapidly shifting shallow mud flats that are covered by the incoming tide, but include sandbars where boats can easily get mired;
- Images from the Straits of Gibraltar, separating Spain from North Africa, reveal where large internal waves propagate hundreds of feet below the surface. These waves, which were used during World War II to hide submarines moving through the channel, can affect fishing and boat navigation.
- Images of the Columbia River, taken during a large storm and after, reveal changing breakwaters and bars that demonstrate the complexity and dynamics of this large system.
"We hope to begin imaging the area around Sendai, Japan, which was devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami to see what we might learn," Davis said.
The space station orbits Earth about 16 times a day and the researchers are able to get about 5-6 good images daily of targeted locations. Cloud cover and darkness limit the number of possible images, and the transmission of data files is enormous.
Jasmine Nahorniak, a senior research assistant, developed and runs the website through OSU's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences where HICO images and other data are stored and shared with scientists around the world.
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