Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The University of Kansas has completed its first test flight of an unmanned craft designed to gather information on polar ice sheets.
The university said Wednesday that the Meridian UAV flew at Fort Riley last month and will next go to Utah for more tests. The 1,100-pound Meridian was designed and built by university student engineers.
Scientists at the university's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets plan to use the Meridian's on-board radar to measure ice thickness and conditions at the bottom of glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland.
They say it can skim icy terrain closer and at slower speeds than could be done safely with manned vehicles.
Researchers say the Meridian could make test flights in Antarctica later this year.