Portlanders have a chance to be part of NASA snow research proje - KPTV - FOX 12

Portlanders have a chance to be part of NASA snow research project

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(KPTV) -

Anyone who has ever wanted to work on a scientific mission for NASA now has a chance. It’s not in outer space, but helpers will get to trek the snowy mountains of the Pacific Northwest for a great cause.

This project has been a couple years in the making. NASA wants to track the snow depth across the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in order to get a better idea of how much drinking water will be available when it melts.

NASA is offering 16 grants to researchers throughout the region.

Professors at Oregon State University and the University of Washington each received a grant, and now those researchers are looking for backcountry enthusiasts to volunteer their time and help them with their mission.

Currently, NASA only counts on satellite imagery, aircraft measurements and the occasional snow station to estimate the snow water equivalent, which gives them a rough idea at best of how much water will end up in local rivers.

The results of this citizen project will help them cover more ground, though, and get more precise measurements, which could help predict the freshwater supply.

Anyone wanting to take part in the research will need only need a couple specific tools, beside themselves. They will need some sort of measuring stick, like a yardstick or an avalanche probe, and a smartphone.

There is a phone app that will record the measurements and the exact location where they were taken.

To see how to be part of the research, head to CommunitySnowObs.org.

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