Accomplishing Transformative Research in a Challenging Fiscal Environment

Friday, 19 December 2014: 10:40 AM
Elizabeth J Mitchell, Applied Physics Laboratory Johns Hopkins, SRG, Laurel, MD, United States, Larry J Paxton, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States and Gary Bust, John Hopkins University-Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, United States
The shift in funding is forcing scientists to promise transformative research for a pittance. To accomplish this, researchers need to transform their methodology to include societal buy-in, use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, and cross-discipline platform usage. As the cutting edge of research expands to view the system on the global scale with extremely fine resolution, fiscally reasonable budgets present a challenge to be met. Consider how do we measure a specific variable over 45-degrees of latitude in an isolated and hostile region of Earth – the total electron count over the South Pole? This work examines this transformative research using hosted payloads on buoys, balloons, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). We will show cutting edge research occurring simultaneous with education and public outreach, offering societal buy-in through interactive websites and student-built hosted payloads. These interactions provide a vision to the public and a new database to the scientists. The use of COTS technology and cross-discipline (oceanography and space) platforms keep the cost low. We will discuss a general methodology for accomplishing transformative research in a challenging fiscal environment through integration of COTS technology, assimilative and first principle models, and observing systems simulation experiments (OSSEs).