NASA looks for some GEMS to shine

A couple of interesting things here, actually –

NASA KSC is soliciting partners for the development of a GEMS system as well as developing statistical techniques to forecast lightning strikes.

Read the document here.
 
GEMSTONE) project has a requirement for a prototype miniaturized sensor system capable of making in-situ measurements of the following atmospheric variables as a function of position and time: (1) temperature, (2) relative humidity, (3) pressure and (4) vector wind velocity. The individual sensors must be sufficiently small and lightweight to remain aloft for several days in the upper troposphere or lower stratosphere upon deployment from a balloon or aircraft.

Makes me wonder why a similar design isn't used to explore supercells and tornadoes. This is kind of "Twisteresque" but why not have similar micro or nano sized sensor probes perhaps as part of a small resiliant balloon or some other lofting device and allow these to be released into a storm or tornado while they send back data via radio. There are already cases of research being done with in-situ vehicles that sample RFD or various atmospheric qualities near a supercell to make detailed analysis, but what better way to study the storm or the tornado that a small device (or devices) released in different parts around the storm to instantly provide information throughout various levels of the storm.

Seems like you could even get chasers carry and release these things, and it wouldn't be too hard. Key would be to make something durable enough to withstand a tornado and minor rural debris along with the force of travelling through a supercell updraft. Maybe the balloon would only be the initial lofting device until it gets caught and then the storm would carry it anyway. Course one challenge would be to have enough radio power transmitted to be picked up.
 
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