Professor Delwyn Moller (University of Auckland)
Imagine if domestic flights crossing our skies each day were not only taking people places but also gathering vast amounts of critical environmental data at the same time. Delwyn Moller will tell us about the ground breaking Rongowai Mission – a collaborative programme between NASA, NZ’s Space Agency and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Air New Zealand. In this unique partnership, the Rongowai mission sees NASA’s next-generation sensor mounted on a domestic Air New Zealand Q300 aircraft. During the aircraft’s routine operations, Rongowai autonomously records reflected global navigation satellite system signals enabling climate-critical environmental measurements to be made, including soil moisture which can help to track climate change indicators such as drought, coastline erosion and flooding. Since its first flight in October 2022, Rongowai has obtained data across much of the country, including extensive flood observations from February 2023.