An unmanned aerial vehicle will fly over the Atlantic to help the U.S. space agency understand how tropical storms are formed.
A drone will give scientists 30-hour windows to study hurricane formation.
Scientists hope to learn why 10 to 20 percent of tropical waves become hurricanes.
The NASA field study begins Aug. 15 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A high-flying robotic drone that can stay airborne for 30 hours at a stretch is part of a fleet of NASA aircraft heading into the field next month to study hurricanes in the making.
Information collected by Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle now moonlighting for science in addition to its military missions, is expected to give researchers new insights about why some storms become hurricanes while others sputter out.
"It's game-changing in the sense that we're going to be able to have a sustained look at a storm for a long time," said Ramesh Kakar, NASA program scientist for the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes, or GRIP, experiment.