DoE researchers measured characteristics of high-level cirrus clouds that may affect global warming over the subtropical Pacific for the first time under a jointly funded DoE/NASA atmospheric research project. Sandia National Laboratories conducted the climate studies at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for DoE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement-Unmanned Aerospace Vehicle program. Researchers gathered data using specially designed instruments carried by a remotely piloted aircraft flying at 50,000 feet altitude off Kauai. NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center provided the aircraft used as an aerial platform for the instruments and funded the flight series at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program. The scientists' long-range goal is to develop enough information to improve the accuracy of predictive models of climate change. Once the dynamics are better understood, the climate models can reflect that understanding and improve forecasting.
DoE continued to support NASA's space exploration program by maintaining the program and facility infrastructure for providing radio- isotope power sources and heater units and developing new, advanced power systems covering a range of power levels required to meet more stringent power system requirements for future missions. DoE employees began preparing a Final Safety Analysis Report to obtain launch approval for use of radioisotope heater units on the Mars 2001 and 2003 missions. DoE employees also initiated safety analyses to support the potential use of radioisotope power systems on the Europa Orbiter and Pluto/Kuiper Express missions.
at DoE's Los Alamos National Laboratory anticipated that the controlled
crash of NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft into the Moon would provide
final proof for what they believed they have already measured: the presence
of frozen water on the Moon. Although the crash did not kick up a visible
cloud of dust, there still could be a small quantity of water buried at
the lunar poles.