The Cuernos del Paine mountains in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile, during NASA's AirSAR 2004 campaign. AirSAR 2004 is a three-week expedition in Central and South America by an international team of scientists that is using an all-weather imaging tool, called the Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AirSAR), located onboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory. Scientists from many parts of the world are combining ground research with NASA's AirSAR technology to improve and expand on the quality of research they are able to conduct.
Founded in 1959, Torres del Paine National Park encompasses 450,000 acres in the Patagonia region of Chile. This region is being studied by NASA using a DC-8 equipped with an Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AirSAR) developed by scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This is a very sensitive region that is important to scientists because the temperature has been consistently rising causing a subsequent melting of the region’s glaciers. AirSAR will provide a baseline model and unprecedented mapping of the region. This data will make it possible to determine whether the warming trend is slowing, continuing or accelerating. AirSAR will also provide reliable information on ice shelf thickness to measure the contribution of the glaciers to sea level.