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ARA Scientist's Groundbreaking Research Featured on Upcoming National Geographic Channel Program

The latest episode in the National Geographic Channel's "Disaster Lab" series, premiering May 14, will feature Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) scientist and storm chaser Tim Samaras gathering data on tornadoes that no one has been able to get before by deploying unique instrumentation into the midst of the storm. The episode, called "Into the Tornado," is the third in the four-part "Disaster Lab" series of shows that demonstrates Samaras' ability to apply innovative technology to understanding natural and man-made disasters.

For "Into the Tornado," National Geographic film crews joined Samaras on his storm chasing adventures in Tornado Alley during the spring of 2008 as he looked for an opportunity to deploy scientific equipment he developed at ARA that can withstand the brutal forces of these storms while gathering data from their core. To get "inside" the tornado, Samaras and his team must get within 100 yards of an oncoming twister in order to place the instruments directly in its path. The show also describes Samaras' efforts under an ARA contract with Boeing to collect monster hailstones for aircraft research.

The first episode in the Disaster Lab series, called "Blast Force," aired in January. Blast Force focused on human lethality, examining the survivability of overall blast effects and blast pressure. Samaras and his team staged a suicide bus bombing then analyzed the terrorist crime scene piece-by-piece to obtain data that will help U.S. authorities better prepare for and respond to potential future disasters.

The second Disaster Lab show, called, "Collapse", aired in April and featured ARA's Pointman Lightweight Reconnaissance Vehicle and the ARA Rocky Mountain Division's Andrew Poulter along with Samaras. Pointman is a four-wheel drive, remote-controlled, small and agile robot that is able to climb and descend stairs, rocks, and rubble. Poulter designed it for use by law enforcement to allow them to do reconnaissance in a building without sending in a police officer. "Collapse" documents Pointman's first test as a search and rescue tool in helping locate victims inside a collapsed building.

"Inside the Tornado" airs twice on May 14 and again on May 21. The National Geographic Channel website provides local showtimes.

Tim Samaras is a grantee of the National Geographic Emerging Explorer program. For more information on his research, visit Applied Research Associates or National Geographic Explorers.