The Science of Sustainability

Producer's Notes: Zeppelins Resurrected

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Hangar One at Moffet field is "cavernous."

I think most people who have been stuck in traffic, grinding away on their daily commute up Highway 101 in Mountain View, have casually glanced towards Moffett Field and wondered, "What the heck are those things?" Like me, maybe they remember hearing vague explanations about blimps. Hanger One at Moffett Field is surely a curious feature on the lower Peninsula, a landmark in the distance and a place most Bay Area residents know of but have never had the chance to see up close. The first time I walked into Hanger One I was stunned. You don’t get an idea of the scale of these buildings until you step inside. You start rattling off words like "massive" and “cavernous" and "enormous." I have a buddy who played baseball inside Hanger One when he was stationed at Moffett for the Navy. He told me nobody ever hit a ball close to reaching the ceiling.

Moffett Field and Hanger One are historic treasures. Now a group is attempting to save the old buildings. If you are curious about the history of this place and want to learn about preservation efforts, I urge you to check out the Moffett Field Historical Society. The gallery alone is worth the effort!


/Watch the Zeppelins Resurrected television story online.


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Category: Engineering

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Chris Bauer

About the Author ()

Chris Bauer is a Freelance Media Producer with over 20 years experience working in broadcast television; producing sports, history, technology, science, environment and adventure related programming. He is a two-time winner of the international Society of Environmental Journalists Award for Outstanding Television Story and has received multiple Northern California Emmy Awards. Some of his Quest stories have been featured in the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, United Nations Association Film Festival, the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and the Environmental Film Festival in Washington DC. A 5th generation Bay Area resident and a graduate of St. Mary's College of California, his hobbies include canoeing, snowboarding, wood-working and trying to play the ukulele. He and his family live in Alameda, CA.
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    NASA has launched its first airborne science mission featuring the Zeppelin NT airship. They have equipped the Zeppelin with two imaging instruments with the hope of learning more about environmental conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    According to the press release, "Scientists from NASA Ames Research Center's Earth Science Division are collaborating with Airship Ventures Inc., Moffett Field, Calif., to conduct experiments using the airship's unique flight characteristics, including its high maneuverability and airframe stability, as well as its capability to fly at low altitude over selected target areas. NASA is interested in using these capabilities to measure reflected solar and emitted thermal radiation and conduct atmospheric sampling of aerosols and gas constituents."

    For more detailed information on the mission, Log onto Nasa Ames home page or go directly to:
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    STORY UPDATE: NASA hasn't given up on airships. They are now looking at "practical approaches to developing and deploying cargo airship systems for commercial transport of goods and materials to meet the needs of remote communities."

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    See some cool images of airships and learn more about NASA's work on Cargo Airships here:
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