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    Image courtesy of Robert Wood

From: Dr. Robert Wood
Arica, Chile, October 24, 2008

The Center of Operations

The Operations Center is at the center of large field experiments like VOCALS. Here, the scientists plan their aircraft missions. Here is where these plans are passed from the minds of the scientists to the pilots, ground crew and support staff that turn them into reality. Next time you fly on a commercial airliner think about all the people working at the airport and on the plane that have been involved in flying you to your destination. It's a big operation!

The Operations Center is also where discoveries are made. The scientific data from all the various missions are collected here and analyzed by the many scientists involved. Together the scientists form a large human computer whose goal is to make sense of all the data. Only through careful analysis of the data is it clear what these discoveries actually are. It is very difficult to know exactly what new discoveries will be made - in fact, the most exciting thing about discovery is that we don't know what surprises are around the corner.

In the photograph you can everyone here listening to a mission briefing whereby preliminary results from a given flight are presented for the first time to the scientists. The Operations Center is an exciting place to be because there is so much going on, and so much new information to try to make sense of.

Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA