Oahu residents may have seen an unusual airplane taking off from Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.
The aircraft is one of NASA’s ER-2 planes, essentially flying laboratories designed to collect scientific data at high altitudes.
NASA is flying the ER-2 over Hawaii from late January through February.
According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (USGS), the data collected will be used in several NASA-funded, multi-year projects to study coral reefs and volcanic processes.
It will also help scientists calibrate, validate, and simulate remote-sensing data from future satellites that could eventually orbit the Earth. The hope is to one day use this information to study the world’s ecosystem and natural events.