NASA’s Boeing 747SP is about as alone in the night sky as it could possibly be as it cruises at 43,000 ft. over the Antarctic Circle. For almost its entire 10-hr. mission, this airborne observatory is farther south than any other aircraft. Aurora Australis—the southern lights—provide a spectacular view out the windows, but the crew barely notices. The 14 scientists, technicians and pilots must work in close synchronization to gather the data they need from the array of ...

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