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.


 
 

 

NASA signs agreement with German, Canadian partners to test alternative fuels

NASA has signed separate agreements with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flights are set to...
 
 
afrc-x56c

X-56A testbed arrives at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich The diminutive X-56A Multi-Use Technology Testbed, mounted on a small trailer, is pulled away from its home for the past year, Hangar 4305 at Edwards’ North Base. The latest in a long series...
 
 
NASA photograph by Tony Landis

Recalling a record: X-43A Scramjet set new hypersonic record a decade ago

NASA photograph by Jim Ross The second X-43A hypersonic research aircraft and its modified Pegasus booster rocket accelerate into the stratosphere after launch from NASA’s B-52B launch aircraft over the Pacific Ocean on M...
 

 

NASA begins search for potential SOFIA partners

NASA issued a Request for Information March 31 soliciting potential partners interested in using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy aircraft for scientific investigations or for other potential uses. NASA’s fiscal year 2015 budget request to Congress calls for SOFIA to be placed in storage next year unless the agency’s contribution to the project can...
 
 
NASA photograph by Carla Thomas

LVAC: Advancing technology readiness of SLS adaptive controls

NASA photograph by Carla Thomas NASA Armstrong’s highly modified F/A-18A Full Scale Advanced Systems Testbed aircraft No. 853 validated the effectiveness of the Adaptive Augmenting Controller developed by NASA Marshall en...
 
 

DARPAs role to change whats possible, director says

As part of the Defense Department’s science and technology community, the role of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is to change what’s possible, the DARPA director said March 26. DARPA makes pivotal early investments that allow the department to “take big steps forward in our national security capabilities, Arati Prabhakar told members of the...
 




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>