​NASA’s Flying Laboratory

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​NASA’s Flying Laboratory

We joined the crew as the plane recently flew over Kansas to study the plains’ nighttime rainstorms.
August 5, 2015, 6:16pm

From the column 'Photos From Beyond'

NASA uses its DC-8 jetliner as a flying laboratory. It's a tricked out plane from the 1960s that has been retrofitted with all manner of sensors. The body of it has been stripped out and replaced with lab benches and scientific equipment. It's used to measure things like climate change and atmospheric anomalies. It's the largest flying laboratory in the world.

We joined the crew as the plane recently flew over Kansas to study the plains' nighttime rainstorms.

Rainfall begins at dusk over central Oklahoma.

A live map tracking the DC-8's planned trajectory during its nighttime flight. In this photo, the DC-8 is flying over south central Kansas, miles from where a tornado struck hours before.

Storm clouds from the cockpit of the DC-8 flying laboratory.

Flight crew aboard NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory.

Storm clouds over central Kansas.