Earth  ID: 12809

NASA Scientists Trek the South Pole

With extreme cold-weather gear, scientific instruments, and two tank-like snow machines called PistenBullys, they begin a traverse on Dec. 21 along section of the 88-degree south latitude line in an arc around the South Pole, documenting a new route across the Antarctic ice. The 470-mile expedition in one of the most barren landscapes on Earth will ultimately provide the best assessment of the accuracy of data collected from space by the Ice Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), set to launch in 2018. With a fast-firing laser instrument, ICESat-2 will measure the elevation of ice sheets and track how much they change over time. Even small amounts of melt across areas as vast as Greenland or Antarctica can result in large amounts of meltwater contributing to sea level rise. To help document this, ICESat-2's height change measurements will have a precision of less than an inch – ground-truthed, in part, with efforts like this Antarctic campaign. The team will collect precise GPS data of the elevation at 88 degrees south, where ICESat-2’s orbits converge, providing thousands of points where the survey measurements can be compared to satellite data.

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Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA): Lead Producer
Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA): Lead Editor
Adriana Manrique Gutierrez (USRA): Lead Animator
Thomas A. Neumann Ph.D. (NASA/GSFC): Lead Scientist
Kelly Brunt (Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center/University of Maryland): Lead Scientist
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Lead Visualizer
Ryan Fitzgibbons (USRA): Lead Writer
Kate Ramsayer (Telophase): Lead Writer
Rob Andreoli (AIMM): Lead Videographer
John Caldwell (AIMM): Videographer
Jefferson Beck (USRA): Videographer
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Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2)

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SVS >> McMurdo
GCMD >> Location >> Antarctica
SVS >> Location >> South Pole
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version