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NOAA to send unmanned aircraft into hurricane


The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is planning on sending tiny, unmanned aircraft on a fearless mission straight into a hurricane -- if they get one to test it in, that is. The $50,000 aircraft, called aerosondes, is designed to collect measurements too dangerous to be done with NOAA's hurricane hunter planes, which NOAA hopes will increase their ability to predict changes in hurricane intensity. The aircraft is launched from atop a speeding pickup truck and can fly for up to 18 hours at a time at altitudes up to 600 meters. The only problem is that their primo spot for hurricane watchin', Key West, Florida, has so far turned up nothin' but nice weather -- good for the residents, but bad for our hurricane-happy scientists. That's made even worse by the fact that their funding for the project is currently set to expire at the end of the month, though they're hoping to get that extended to October if the good/bad weather continues.

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