Battelle Showcases NSF Observation Aircraft in Ohio; Lou Von Thaer Quoted

Jeff Brody
Lou Von Thaer

Battelle is offering representatives from the government and academic sectors a chance to tour the National Science Foundation’s ecological data collection aircraft at the nonprofit company’s Columbus, Ohio, facility.

Three Twin Otter aircraft operate under NSF’s Battelle-managed National Ecological Observatory Network program and contain instruments such as airborne sensors, imaging spectrometers, high-resolution cameras and lidar platforms built to collect low-altitude data over 81 sites nationwide, the nonprofit said Monday.

The vehicle, also called the NEON Airborne Observation Platform, collects around .75 terabytes of data from 1K meters above ground for every 4.5-hour collection flight. Data from the NEON project has already supported research efforts spanning subject areas such as plant distribution, canopy biochemistry and the forest environment.

“Although we have 81 different sites across the U.S., none of them are in Columbus, so we thought we’d bring one of our mobile platforms to our own backyard so people can learn more about this important work,” said Lou Von Thaer, president and CEO of Battelle and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient.

The NEON project offers publically available data and is projected to run for 30 years.

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