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Survey on Unexplored Stretch of Antarctic Ice

It is extremely thrilling to know that a team led by two NASA scientists will embark on extreme Antarctic trek.

The region where temperatures drop to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and the path which is occasionally blocked by wind – driven ice dunes, these scientists will conduct a survey over an unexplored stretch of Antarctic ice. Resources said that two tank – like snow machines called PistenBullys will pull sleds carrying packed extremely cold – weather gear and scientific instruments. The journey is going to begin today i.e. on 21st December, 2017 and it will be a two – to – three week traverse in an arc around the South Pole. The expedition is of 470 miles. It is one of the most barren landscapes on Earth. Ultimately, this expedition will provide the best assessment of the accuracy of data collected from space. The data collection is by the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite – 2 (ICESat – 2). It is set for its launch in 2018.

ICESat – 2 will work along with a fast – firing laser instrument and will measure the elevation of ice – sheets and track any change over time. In fact, melting of even small amounts across like Greenland or Antarctica will contribute in rising of sea – level. ICESat – 2’s height change measurements will help in getting a precision of less than an inch – ground – truthed. The scientists along with their team will collect precise GPS data of the elevation at 88 degrees south. The collection is going to happen where ICESat’s – 2s orbits converge and thus it provides thousands of points where the comparison between survey measurements and satellite data can occur. 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 said that this traverse surely provides an extremely challenging and extremely cold path to assess the accuracy of the data.

By: Bhavna Sharma

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