DC-8 flies over Antarctica's Weddell Sea on Oct. 28 during a mission to map sea ice and underfly the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite. Credit: NASA/Jim Yungel The team of scientists aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory headed for the South Pole today during the fourth flight in the Fall 2010 Operation IceBridge campaign over Antarctica. The team hoped to have almost two hours of survey time on the thickness of sea ice over the pole after a long transit flight from the flying lab's deployment base at Punta Arenas, Chile. The mission was expected to last 11.5 hours.
On the prior flight Oct. 30, just under six hours of data collection was obtained during low-level runs at about 1,400 feet above sea level during the 10.3-hour mission. Mission manager Frank Cutler reported that clouds along the route obscured observation of sea ice four about an hour and 15 minutes, but were not an issue for rest of mission.
Mission scientists emphasized data and imagery collection from four of the seven specialized instruments aboard the airborne laboratory, including the Airborne Topographic Mapper, the Digital Mapping System, the Ku-Band Radar Altimeter and a snow radar.
The Fall 2010 IceBridge campaign is centered on investigation and monitoring of the changing conditions of the Antarctic's sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers.
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