ICESat-2 is a spacecraft designed to accurately measure land and ice elevations on Earth. By comparing observations from different times, scientists will be able to study changes in elevations. ICESat-2 will be in a polar orbit which will provide high coverage near the poles where ice elevations are changing relatively quickly. This visualization shows ICESat-2's polar orbit from afar, then closer up. As we get close to the satellite, the 3 pairs of ICESat-2's ATLAS lidar laser beams begin to resolve. A ground track shows ICESat-2's global coverage which repeats about once every 90 days.
The ATLAS lidar on ICESat-2 uses 3 pairs of laser beams to measure the earth’s elevation and elevation change. As a global mission, ICESat-2 will collect data over the entire globe, however the ATLAS instrument is optimized to measure land ice and sea ice elevation in the polar regions.
For more information on ICESat-2 click here.
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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
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Datasets used in this visualization
Terra and Aqua BMNG (A.K.A. Blue Marble: Next Generation) (Collected with the MODIS sensor)
Credit: The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).
Dataset can be found at: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/BlueMarble/See more visualizations using this data set
GEOS Atmospheric Model
ICESat-2 STK Ephemeris
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