The NERC ARSF Dornier 228.
Ash cloud, giant ants and Borneo rainforest
10 May 2010
As ash from Eyjafjallajökull volcano continues to nudge at UK airspace, Richard Hollingham takes a closer look at the aircraft that flew into April's cloud.
NERC's Airborne Research and Survey Facility's Dornier 228 was quickly modified to carry specialist equipment to analyse the contents of the ash cloud. We hear from the team that got the aircraft into action, and learn more about the versatile Dornier.
You might think yourself lucky that you're just listening in when Richard meets ant expert Bill Hughes at the University of Leeds. Bill's collection includes 3.5cm-long dinosaur ants, which have a sophisticated society akin to pack animals like wolves – what a combination.
But you might wish you'd been there when you listen to the second of our audio diaries, recorded by Cambridge scientist Tim Cockerill as he arrives in a Borneo rainforest that has just burst into bloom.
Finally, we learn how heat-loving bacteria on Earth could give us clues to ancient life on Mars, and the surprising discovery of a thriving new community of creatures in Antarctica.
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