Tech

November 18, 2013

NASA begins first Antarctic airborne campaign from McMurdo Station

NASA’s Operation IceBridge has begun its 2013 Antarctic field campaign with the arrival of the agency’s aircraft and scientists at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

The IceBridge mission will conduct daily survey flights through Nov. 26 on a NASA P-3 research aircraft from a base of operations at McMurdo Station. The P-3 usually is based at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. As part of a multi-year project, researchers are collecting data on Antarctic land and sea ice. Previous IceBridge Antarctic missions was conducted out of Punta Arenas, Chile.

“Flying from Antarctica will allow us to survey areas that had been unreachable from Chile,” said Michael Studinger, IceBridge project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “There are many scientifically important areas we can now reach from McMurdo.”

One such area is the Siple Coast on the edge of Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The ice streams there are of particular interest. “We know from spaceborne ice surface velocity measurements that some of the Siple Coast ice streams are changing,” said Studinger. “But since 2009, we have had no laser altimeter measurements of ice surface elevations in this area.”

In 2009, NASA’s ice-monitoring satellite, the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) reached the end of its life and stopped collecting data. IceBridge was started the same year and will keep an eye on changing polar ice until NASA launches the ICESat successor (ICESat-2) in three years.

IceBridge also plans to fly over areas of sea ice in and around the Ross Sea where there have been no airborne ice thickness measurements. The scientists also will survey beneath the Ross Ice Shelf using a gravimeter, an instrument that can detect minute changes in gravitational fields below the aircraft.

These small changes help researchers determine the depth and shape of water cavities beneath floating ice.

The P-3 left Wallops Nov. 11 carrying a suite of instruments, including laser altimeters, radars, cameras and gravity and magnetic field sensors. The IceBridge team also has set up ground stations at McMurdo to collect global positioning system data.

Mission planners worked with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. †Antarctic Program for more than a year laying the groundwork for this campaign. The IceBridge project science office is located at Goddard.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

ONR features technology for Marines of future

From virtual training to laser weapons, the Office of Naval Research is showcasing a range of technologies at Modern Day Marine exposition Sept. 23-25 that will prepare Marines as they continue to face an increasingly complex security landscape. ONR program officers will be in booth no. 2305 during the event, held at Marine Corps Base...
 
 
University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen

NASA airborne campaigns focus on climate impacts in Arctic

University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA’s multi-year Oper...
 
 
NASA/SSAI photograph by Edward Winstead

ACCESS II confirms jet biofuel burns cleaner

NASA/ORAU photograph by Richard Moore NASA’s DC-8 research aircraft leads one of the ACCESS II sampler aircraft across the early morning California sky.   Flying high above the California desert, NASA researchers rec...
 

 

Sparks fly as NASA pushes limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector – a highly complex part that...
 
 
NASA photograph by David Alexander

NASA MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft completes visual, radar mission in Hawaii

NASA photograph “Ikhana,” NASA’s MQ-9 remotely piloted research aircraft, carries a maritime radar in a specialized centerline pod during a flight to check out systems prior to the aircraft’s deployment ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA Armstrong’s space shuttle Mate-Demate Device coming down

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida The space shuttle Mate-Demate Device that stood as an iconic symbol of NASA’s now-concluded Space Shuttle Program at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center for 38 years is being dismantled af...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>