March-April 2011

NASA Chat: Live From the Top of the World on Earth Day

A NASA team of Arctic explorers is in Greenland right now on an airborne science mission to keep a careful eye on changes in the ice landscape on land and sea. On Earth Day, April 22, you can chat online with NASA scientists including Lora Koenig in Kangerlussuag, Greenland, about the Operation IceBridge mission.

New! NASA's Lora Koenig and Tom Wagner answered 82 questions during the hour-long chat. Read the transcript here.

MABEL: Spring 2011

Flying on a high-altitude aircraft at the brink of space, the Multiple Altimeter Beam Experimental Lidar (MABEL) instrument is helping scientists to simulate measurements from NASA's next ice-observing satellite, ICESat-2.

Last December, a Goddard-based team travelled to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Palmdale, Calif., for MABEL's maiden voyage. The team flew five test flights at high altitudes over various terrain—ocean water, lake water, snow, salt flats, mountains and vegetated regions—to test the satellite's measurement concept.

The ER-2 pilot (above) refueled with caffeinated chocolate pudding. Credit: NASA/Tom Ryan

This spring, the team returned to Palmdale to fly MABEL again to test a new set of filters that have been added to the instrument to filter out background noise, stemming from natural sunlight. These 'etalon' filters are a critical component to MABEL's design, allowing it to fly during daylight hours.

Read about the spring flights in a blog series by Goddard's Kelly Brunt, who works on ICESat-2 at Goddard, where her duties include flight planning for MABEL.

Operation IceBridge, Arctic 2011

4.11.11 -- Researchers and flight crew arrived in Thule, Greenland, on Monday, March 14, for the start of NASA's 2011 Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in polar ice. Plans for the Arctic campaign include surveys of sea ice, land ice and the Canadian ice caps. Teams are currently making flights from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and will return to Thule at the end of the end of April for the remainder of the mission, which concludes on May 20.

Visit the Operation IceBridge mission page for updates, blog posts and photos.

EarthSky Interview with Robert Bindschadler

Scientists use satellites to lean about changes to Antarctica's ice, according to Robert Bindschadler, emeritus scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He talked to EarthSky about the amazingly detailed view of the entire continent of Antarctica called LIMA, short for Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica.

> Listen to the interview and read the transcript here