NASA scientists are embarking on a major expedition to an unexplored part of Antarctica that will have big scientific implications.
NASA scientists are planning on embarking on an epic adventure to the continent of Antarctica, a 756-kilometer expedition withthe purpose of surveying an unexplored stretch of ice. The team of NASA scientists will begin their two- to three-week journey on Dec. 21, and they will be packing very heavy for this bitterly cold trip.
Scientists are hoping this expedition will help them verify data collected by the Ice Cloud and Elevation Satellite-2 satellites in space that will be launched in 2018. Such a verification will be important as the satellites gather critical data on ice sheets and how they’ve changed over time.
ICESat-2 will be responsible for measuring the elevation of ice sheets, which will be critical as even small melts in Greenland and Antarctica can result in big changes in sea levels worldwide. ICESat-2 will be so precie that it can detect less than an inch of change.
“This traverse provides an extremely challenging and extremely cold way to assess the accuracy of the data,” said Kelly Brunt, ICESat-2’s calibration and validation lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and a research scientist at the University of Maryland. “ICESat-2’s datasets are going to tell us incredible things about how Earth’s ice is changing, and what that means for things like sea level rise.”