NASA using drones from Wallops Island to study hurricanes

The pinpoint of white light scooting in just ahead of sunrise was designed to ferret out terrorists hiding in rocky terrain. But now a former Military drone has a new life, in Wallops Island, searching for something that can be just as dangerous and just as deadly.

For the first time ever, NASA is sending two remote-controlled robot planes — high flying drones — to hunt hurricanes. It’s part of the space agency’s new mission, a mission to unravel some of weather’s deepest mysteries.

Humberto becomes first hurricane of the season; Gabrielle continues to impact Bermuda

This particular aircraft was the first one of its kind ever built for the Military. That also means it`s the oldest, and one day it might have been destined for the scrapyard. But NASA saw an opportunity to use an aircraft like this to do something they`ve never been able to do with a traditional aircraft and a traditional air crew.

So with the help of Northrop Grumman, NASA essentially recycled these wartime drones, using them to spy on hurricanes in a way no human pilots or manned airplanes ever could.

The research these scientists are doing, and the data these planes are recording, has one goal: To save lives.

Tonight at 6, we’ll show you how controversial drone technology is being used right here in Hampton Roads.

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