What do Millersville students, the Marine Science Consortium on Wallops Island, Va., newly named the Chincoteague Bay Field Station have in common? The answer is the opportunity to intern with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and assist in conducting research.
The Chincoteague Bay Field Station is collaborating with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility (GSFCWFF) to promote student development in the sciences and faculty research in areas of interest to NASA.
Millersville faculty and students are currently working on two ongoing projects with NASA in association with the Field Station.
The first project involves using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), which is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflecting light to map topographic surfaces from aircrads and drones. NASA flies the LiDAR sensor on its drones and aircraft and supplies the data. Students collect ground data at almost the same time as the flight time to validate the aircraft based LiDAR data.
The other project in collaboration with NASA scientists involves using shipboard measurements to collect data on the Delmarva shelf region. The goal for the project is to collect climate quality data in order to understand how the warming seawater will affect oxygen and marine life in the area.
“The Field Station has a strong scientific relationship with NASA,” said Dr. Ajoy Kumar, Millersville University associate professor of ocean sciences and coastal studies, who teaches a summer course on field methods in oceanography at the Field “Most of the collaborations are thorough the PASSHE schools. Our faculty uses NASA’s equipment and NASA scientists use the field station’s boats for their research.”