Video: NASA's Science Spy Plane Catches What Satellites Can't


Not quite into space, but very close.

The ER2 high-altitude research plane is a modified U-2 spy plane turned NASA aircraft that soars at the edge of space.

Its goal? Keeping an eye on the Earth and its atmosphere, and studying hazardous weather situations like hurricanes. At 70,000 feet above the Earth, it can capture data with greater detail than a satellite.

"You see the curvature of the Earth as you scan the horizon," says Stu Broce, NASA research pilot.

To fly the plane, Broce must wear a custom-made flight suit that allows him to go into the low atmospheric pressure environment. He also has to pre-breathe pure oxygen for at least an hour before his flight.

To learn more, check out the video below from Wired: 

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