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Magnetic Mission

Features May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Magnetic Mission


Two Scripps geophysicists took to the skies to improve scientists’ ability to map fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field.

During a 2007 cruise in the southwest Pacific, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers Jeff Gee and Steve Cande and a colleague from Rutgers University used a pneumatic catapult to launch nine unmanned airborne vehicles (UAVs) from Scripps’s R/V Melville. The vehicles, each equipped with GPS, flew at an elevation of approximately 200 meters alongside the research vessel, and were recaptured in midair by flying into a wingtip clip suspended from a retractable boom on the ship’s fantail. Each deployment averaged about 11 hours, providing more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of magnetic data, which is more than was acquired by the ship during the month-long cruise from traditional methods.

Their latest research study was published in the May 6, 2008 issue of Eos, a publication of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Contributors to Making Waves: Kim Edwards, Tiffany Fox, Raymond Hardie, Pat JaCoby, Annie Reisewitz


For more, go to: magician.ucsd .edu/UAV