Transcript of "Five teachers, 500 meters above Greenland"

This year five teachers were invited on board NASA’s P-3B aircraft to fly at 500 meters above the glaciers of Greenland with Operation IceBridge, a six-year mission to study Arctic and Antarctic ice. Two teachers from Greenland, two from Denmark, and one from the U.S. were given the opportunity to see polar research first hand, and then take that experience back to their classrooms. First impressions ... you know, of course the views. Just every where you looked just these spectacular views. Terrain that is very foreign. You know, I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania and of course I've seen snow before, but never the glacial terrain that you see on one of these flights.

Peter Gross: Being on an IceBridge flight, first you get the surprise that you're allowed to do a lot of things. You're allow to go around and look at all the researchers' work, we're allowed to talk to them. We're even allowed to go out in the cockpit as long as we don't bother anyone too much. That's the biggest surprise.

Offscreen: How was takeoff? This is about the most exciting thing I've done for a long time. The next one is that it's a bit tough. You need to be able to grab on to something when you come into the air holes you need to be prepared for some turbulence and for a bit of air sickness if you're not too strong. And you have to eat and you have to drink a lot because, eight, nine hours on a flight is a long time

Erik Jakobsen: You might say it's incredible experience to see the ice from above and the mountains and flying with these incredible pilots, going very low over the glaciers, going very close to the mountains, so that has been a fantastic experience to see how such professional people can do their work. And talking to the scientists, and feeling their enthusiam toward these subjects

Tom Svennesen: I don't know what I really thought would be there. But when you see it, there's actually nothing. It's like a completely white desert. You can see there's nothing. No life, no tree, no animal. Nothing. Just flat ice. But then when you get to the edges, it gets much more interesting. You have mountains and you have the crevasses. I think for me the crevasses was the defining moment. When you are looking down into the crevasses and you're imagining how would it be if I was down there, walking with a backpack, maybe a ski could I manage, could I pass there?

Narrator: The teachers took advantage of a day on the ground to travel to the terminus of the Russell Glacier, where they were able to touch the ancient ice and sample the glacier’s meltwater.


While they stayed back a safe distance from the glacier’s calving front, two hikers from a different group provided a sense of scale as they got dangerously close to the wall of ice.


Tim Spuck: You know I've spent 20, 22 years teaching about glaciers and teaching Earth science classes where we've talked about erosion and weathering due to glaciation. But I've never seen it. Until today. Until the flight. And I think that makes you a better teacher, a better communicator of the science

Narrator: Peter Gross has already shared his experiences with his students back in Denmark, and plans to incorporate scientific concepts from IceBridge instruments into his future physics classes.