This fly-through animation show the IceBridge DC-8 aircraft and instruments aboard.
Laser and radar instruments aboard NASA aircraft provide measurements of the snow and ice surface and down to the bedrock under the ice. Lasers, with a shorter wavelength, measure the surface elevation of the snow or ice to within a fraction of an inch. Radar instruments utilize a longer wavelength and can penetrate the ice to "see" below the surface, providing a profile of ice characteristics and also the shape of the bedrock. This information is critical for understanding how and why the world's biggest ice masses are changing.