A small robotic aircraft designed to carry out long-duration flights and obtain meteorological data from inaccessible regions, thus complementing data from radiosondes, ultra-long duration balloons, and meteorological satellites. Two types are under development, one for use over oceanic areas, and the second for flights at altitudes over 25 km (and possibly above 35 km). In August 1998, a prototype low-altitude aerosonde crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to Scotland (3200 km) in 26 hours. Proposals exist for solar-powered high-altitude forms that might remain aloft for as long as a year.
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.