Crew Earth Observations - International Polar Year (CEO-IPY) supports an international collaboration of scientists studying the Earth?s Polar Regions from 2007 to 2009. Space station crew members photograph polar phenomena including icebergs, auroras and mesospheric clouds in response to daily correspondence from the scientists on the ground.Principal Investigator(s)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
September 2006 - April 2009Expeditions Assigned
14,15,16,17,18Previous ISS Missions
Crew Earth Observations have been ongoing since 1961and more than 250,000 images have been taken during the first six years of ISS operations.
International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2009 is the fourth time in the past 125 years that scientists worldwide
combined efforts in observation and exploration of the Earth's Polar Regions. A prime focus of the this IPY is
global climate change, and the role of the polar regions in understanding climate change. The International Space
Station is participating in the 2007-2009 IPY using the Crew Earth Observation (CEO) program.
ISS provides a human observational platform to observe high latitude features, including sea ice, icebergs, plankton blooms, and atmospheric phenomena such as aurora and Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC). PMC (also known as noctilucent clouds) are thin clouds that are found in the mesosphere. They are the highest known clouds with altitudes around 53 miles (85 km) and are visible only at night when illuminated by sunlight below the horizon. The ISS platform provides excellent observation opportunities for upper atmospheric features because the crew members can observe the upper atmosphere to latitudes as high as 70 -80°, and their observations are not obscured by clouds.
ISS crewmembers use digital still photography and videos to capture targets that are cataloged and assimilated into the CEO database. The targets are selected on their relevance to the IPY studies, and are made available to researchers via the CEO website at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov. Additional imaging from satellites and ground observation stations will be compared to the data collected by the ISS.
Observations that are made from Earth's orbit create the model for planetary exploration observations on future long-duration missions.Earth Applications
Data collected by CEO-IPY will be used by an international collaboration of scientists to determine how the Polar Regions have changed over the past 125 years and might help to explain atmospheric phenomena such as Polar Mesospheric Clouds. The blueprint that the data creates will be used to determine the changes in the Polar Regions in the future. The data gathered will also be used as an educational tool for teachers and students world wide.
Crewmembers will receive targets through the Crew Observations program that were coordinated by the IPY researchers. Digital photography and video will be taken by the ISS crews. Images will be downlinked to CEO personnel who will catalog and make the images available to the IPY researchers.Operational Protocols
The IPY will begin in March 2007. The crewmembers will receive uplinked coordinates for the targets of interest from the CEO program. When the ISS passes over a specific target, the crewmembers will use digital photography and video to capture the target. These images and video will be downlinked to Johnson Space Center for cataloging and distribution.
To date, ISS crewmembers have successfully documented the break-up of large tabular icebergs that have calved from the Antarctic ice shelves and drifted northward into the South Atlantic Ocean. Researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center have used the imagery from the International Space Station to examine surface features, including ice margins, cracks, and surface melt water ponds to better understand the mechanisms and timing of iceberg breakup. Large Tabular Icebergs can be used to model breakups of the Antarctic ice shelf (Scambos et al.
Several sequences of polar mesospheric clouds have been observed and documented by the ISS crews, and imagery of auroras from the ISS and Shuttle were collected simultaneously with data from ground stations and meteorological satellites. The integration of these images and data were discussed in the European Optical Meeting in 2007 (Sandahl et al. 2007).
Some of the data have been published and served to the public via NASA?s Earth Observatory website (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov). (Evans et al. 2009)
Scambos T, Ross R, Bauer R, Yemolin Y, Skvarca P, Long D, Bohlander J, Haran T. Calving and ice-shelf break-up processes investigated by proxy: Antarctic tabular iceberg evolution during northward drift. Journal of Glaciology. 2008; 54(187): 579-591.
Pettit DR, Evans CA. International Space Station Supports International Polar Year. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 2007; 88(15): 171.
Glasser NF, Scambos T. A structural glaciological analysis of the 2002 Larsen B ice-shelf collapse. Journal of Glaciology. 2008; 54(184): 3-16.