According to an NSF press release and Scripps press release , three Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles successfully comleted 18 data-gathering missions over the Maldives. The robots flew in a vertical formation allowing them to measure pollution levels above, below, and inside the clouds simultaneously. The data will help researchers understand how pollutants cause global dimming and contribute to cloud formation. The robots were Manta UAVs built by Advanced Ceramics Research. Each robot weighed 11 pounds and carried sensors designed to measure solar radiation, particle size and concentration, turbulence, humidity, and temperature. Detailed Manta specifications (PDF format) are available for the curious. The Maldives Campaign was part of the Global Albedo Project, a joint effort of the NSF, NASA, Scripps, and other organizations. Veerabhadran Ramanathan acted as chief scientist. See the Maldives AUAV Campaign website for links to more information and video of the flights. A UCAR story provides a more detailed description of the project and an official summary (PDF format) is also available. The event was also covered in SpaceMart news, Roland's blog, and Eurekalert.