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IceBridge - Antarctic 2012


    IceBridge 2012 Antarctic Campaign Retrospective

    Ice on the Ellsworth Range in Antarctica as seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 22, 2012. › View larger
    Ice on the Ellsworth Range in Antarctica as seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 22, 2012. Credit: NASA / James Yungel
    Researchers with NASA's Operation IceBridge recently completed a five-week field campaign based out of Punta Arenas, Chile. From Oct. 12 to Nov. 8, IceBridge researchers gathered valuable information on land and sea ice during its 16 science missions over Antarctica. During this year's Antarctic campaign—the fourth in the mission's history—IceBridge scientists added on to existing sea ice elevation data, surveyed new areas of the Antarctic ice sheet and reached out to students, teachers and the public.

    A portion of the campaign's missions focused on areas of Antarctic sea ice that were previously surveyed by IceBridge, NASA's ICESat and the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2. By taking repeated measurements of ice surface elevation IceBridge is building a record of change in the Antarctic. In addition to ice surface elevation, IceBridge used its suite of instruments ranging from ice-penetrating radar to a gravimeter to measure ice thickness, measure the depth and shape of water beneath ice shelves and map sub-glacial bedrock.

    › More


    Anatomy of an IceBridge Mission

    On Nov. 4, 2012, Operation IceBridge flew an 11-hour mission over the Recovery Glacier and Filchner Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica. On the transit back home, NASA scientist John Sonntag gave a two-minute breakdown of the mission over the aircraft headset, including the purpose of the day’s flight, the challenges of working with Antarctic weather forecasts, and what the team found when they arrived on site. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
    › Download audio file (mp3)

    An 11-hour Operation IceBridge mission over Antarctica is not a casual undertaking. The mission planning starts months before as scientists weigh competing scientific objectives in order to design flights with the highest science value possible. And before making the actual journey, the IceBridge team has to carefully evaluate up-to-the-minute weather models to ensure success.

    This year IceBridge flew 16 science flights over the Antarctic Ice Sheet, outlet glaciers, and the sea ice surrounding the continent. During one of those high-priority flights over the Recovery Glacier on Nov. 4, scientist John Sonntag gave a detailed description of how this mission was designed and the weather decisions that had to be made.

    › More


    Four More Flights Bring Strong Close to Antarctic Campaign

    Sea ice conditions during the time of the CryoSat-2 underpass over the Weddell Sea on Nov. 7, 2012. › View larger
    Sea ice conditions during the time of the CryoSat-2 underpass over the Weddell Sea on Nov. 7, 2012. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger
    NASA's Operation IceBridge closed out its 2012 Antarctic season with two surveys of Antarctic glaciers and two long-awaited flights over sea ice in the Weddell Sea. These four flights bring the airborne science campaign to a successful end with a total of 16 science missions and a total mileage equivalent to more than three times around the Earth's equator. In addition, researchers on the DC-8 answered questions from students in several U.S. states and Chile by text chat through the aircraft's communication system.

    On Nov. 2, IceBridge mission planners reached into the playbook for a high-priority mission in a high-priority region. When the IceBridge science team met earlier this year to plan Antarctic campaign flights, they categorized each flight based on the survey's priority and the priority of the region each target is in. After takeoff and transit, the IceBridge DC-8 began a grid survey of the upper part of the Filchner Ice Shelf just offshore of Recovery Glacier. By flying back-and-forth lines spaced 12 miles apart, IceBridge researchers were able to gather data that will enable researchers to calculate the bathymetry, or water depth, below the floating ice in this area. In addition, the gravimeter aboard the DC-8 collected high-altitude gravity readings over the southern Weddell Sea.

    IceBridge returned to western Antarctica to survey ice stream tributaries along the flanks of the Pine Island Glacier. This glacier and others in the same region of western Antarctica have been the focus of study in recent years because of a high rate of surface elevation changes, but the tributaries along the northern and southern flanks, or edges, of the ice stream have received little attention compared to the rest of the glacier and its ice shelf. IceBridge researchers gathered surface elevation data to create a baseline for characterizing future changes and took radar measurements of the sub-ice bedrock that will be used to model how ice flows through tributary channels into the Pine Island Glacier basin.

    After a scheduled routine maintenance check of the DC-8 by NASA aviation technicians on Nov. 5, IceBridge returned to the air with clearer weather in the Weddell Sea the following two days. On Nov. 6, the forecast for the northern part of the Weddell Sea looked good enough for a survey closer to the ice edge. By flying under the cloud deck and adjusting altitude as needed, IceBridge researchers were able to take measurements along the entire survey line without losing any data.

    On the morning of Nov. 7, IceBridge mission planners spent nearly 45 minutes in the Punta Arenas airport's weather office looking at forecast models and weighing flight options. "After studying the situation carefully we decided to launch," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger.

    On this final mission of the 2012 Antarctic campaign, IceBridge researchers collected large amount of data on sea ice in the Weddell Sea that will be used in building time-series data of the area. The Nov. 7 survey followed lines previously flown in 2009, 2010 and 2011, which will allow for a year-to-year comparison of those areas. In addition, IceBridge's flight path intersected an orbit by the European Space Agency's ice-monitoring satellite, CryoSat-2, with the satellite passing 450 miles overhead during the flight. Data from CryoSat-2 and IceBridge's radar altimeter will be used to calibrate and validate satellite measurements.

    Although the weather in the Weddell Sea was the best that have been seen during the entire campaign, they still weren't ideal with clouds making for a sometimes difficult survey. Despite the challenging conditions, IceBridge gathered a large sum of sea ice data, including a satellite underpass and a loopback pattern on CryoSat's ground track to measure sea ice drift. "Kudos are due to the crew in the cockpit for continuing survey operations in marginal conditions," Studinger said.


    Ice Stream Surveys and a Behind the Scenes Look

    View of a glacier shear margin seen from the NASA DC-8 on the Nov. 1 survey of the Ronne Ice Shelf grounding line › View larger
    View of a glacier shear margin seen from the NASA DC-8 on the Nov. 1 survey of the Ronne Ice Shelf grounding line. A shear margin is the point where fast-flowing glacier ice meets slow-moving ice or rock (in this case, ice attached to the Dufek Massif in Antarctica’s Pensacola Mountains). Credit: NASA / Maria-Jose Viñas
    With the end of the 2012 Antarctic campaign on the horizon, IceBridge flew land ice surveys on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 that will further expand our knowledge of the area. In addition, the Nov. 1 flight featured a live Twitter event and saw visitors from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, two Punta Arenas-area schools, a Chilean newspaper and the United States Antarctic Program's icebreaking research vessel the Nathaniel B. Palmer.

    On Oct. 28, a persistent low-pressure system in the Weddell Sea forced IceBridge to forego its planned sea ice mission to survey the Antarctica's Foundation and Support Force Ice Streams. The newly designed mission consisted of six grid lines spaced 12 miles apart over the Foundation Ice Stream to measure surface elevation and examine sub-ice bedrock and water depth.

    The near-pristine weather during the transit from Punta Arenas meant that the Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) and Digital Mapping System (DMS) teams gathered an additional three hours of high-altitude data. It also meant another day of beautiful views of the Antarctic Peninsula for everyone on the NASA DC-8. "This day could not have gone better," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger.

    With a limited number of high-priority surveys left, IceBridge mission planners held off on flight operations for a few days in the hopes that conditions in the remaining target areas would improve. After a few days on the ground, where IceBridge researchers worked on processing the vast sums of data collected so far and the crew taking care of scheduled maintenance on the aircraft, IceBridge returned to the skies on Nov. 1 with a survey of the grounding line on the east side of the Ronne Ice Shelf.

    This mission marks the eighth dedicated grounding line survey over the past four years. IceBridge has now surveyed about 5,000 miles of grounding line— the point where ice transitions from being supported by land to floating on water—from the Getz Ice Shelf, along the Antarctic Peninsula and into the Ronne Ice Shelf, something Studinger called a remarkable accomplishment. The end of the survey line for this mission flew over a seismic survey site. Data on what's beneath the ice gathered by previous seismic surveys there will be compared to information gathered by the DC-8's gravimeter. In addition to the planned low-altitude survey lines, IceBridge researchers collected high-altitude ATM, DMS and gravity data over sea ice during the transits.

    This mission also featured a live Twitter question and answer session via the DC-8's satellite communication system and saw an array of guests. Dinah Arnett and Hector Rojo from the public affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Santiago participated in this flight along with Chilean journalist Paula Lopez of La Prensa Austral, and Punta Arenas-area science teachers Mario Esquivel and Carmen Gallardo. This experience was a way to give the teachers a behind-the-scenes look at IceBridge and give them a unique insight into polar science that they plan to use to engage their students in the classroom. "It was an outstanding experience," said Arnett.

    For more about IceBridge's guest teachers, visit:


    Two More Flights and Distinguished Guests

    An iceberg trapped in sea ice in the Amundsen Sea › View larger
    An iceberg trapped in sea ice in the Amundsen Sea, seen from the IceBridge DC-8 during the Getz 07 mission on Oct. 27. Credit: NASA / Maria-Jose Vinas
    NASA's Operation IceBridge flew two more surveys on Oct. 25 and 27 that gathered more information on changes in ice surface elevation and took a look below the ice to measure water depth and bedrock topography. In addition, on the Oct. 25 flight, IceBridge was joined by two guests, the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Alejandro Wolff, and his Secretary for Economic Affairs, Josanda Jinnette.

    The Oct. 25 mission measured ice surface elevation in the region around the Ferrigno and Alison Ice Streams to see how things have changed in these streams that empty into the Bellingshausen Sea west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The newly designed mission measured upstream of the grounding line in a six-line east to west grid parallel to the coast. Lines were spaced six miles apart, each running farther inland, and the western end of each one intersected a previous survey line flown by the Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor. By intersecting previously measured lines, IceBridge scientists are able to build continuity of data in the area.

    IceBridge guests Ambassador Wolff and Ms. Jinnette traveled from Santiago to Punta Arenas on Oct. 24, sat in on the evening science meeting and joined IceBridge personnel for the 11-hour-long flight. NASA has been working closely with the government, scientists and educators of Chile thanks to help from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago. This flight was a chance for Wolff to see an airborne science mission firsthand and was a small token of IceBridge's appreciation. Later in the campaign, IceBridge will be joined by education and public affairs people from the embassy, a Chilean journalist and two Chilean teachers.

    On Oct. 27, IceBridge embarked on a survey of the Getz Ice Shelf region. One of the focuses of this mission is beneath the ice. Using the MCoRDS radar depth sounder and the gravimeter, IceBridge researchers gathered data on land ice bed topography and sub-ice shelf bathymetry. Radar can penetrate through ice down to the bedrock below, giving a picture of the shape of sub-ice terrain. To measure sub-ice water, researchers rely on an instrument known as a gravimeter.

    Gravimeters measure variations in the Earth's gravitational pull in areas with different density. Water is less dense than rock so scientists can distinguish bedrock from water and measure the shape and depth of sub-ice water cavities. "We are measuring changes down to about one part in a million of the Earth's gravitational field," said scientist Kirsty Tinto of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

    In addition, when combined with ice radar, researchers can use gravity readings to infer whether a bed is made of solid rock or sediments. Understanding the shape and nature of the bed and depth of water below ice shelves is important for building more accurate computer models of how ice will change in the future.

    With 10 missions down and only a handful of high priority missions left, IceBridge mission planners are keeping an eye on the weather to ensure maximum efficiency. A persistent low pressure system in the Weddell Sea that ATM scientist John Sonntag said hasn't been seen in previous years is limiting options. Conditions are set to change soon though. "We have hopes that will change later in the week," said Sonntag.

    For more about Ambassador Wolff's visit to IceBridge, visit:
    en español


    Two Perfect Days for IceBridge

    Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica seen from NASA's DC-8.

    Ellsworth Mountains in Antarctica seen from NASA's DC-8. Credit: NASA/Michael Studinger › View larger

    After two no-fly days for aircraft maintenance and weather, IceBridge surveyed the Ronne Ice Shelf grounding line and took high-altitude measurements of four glaciers in West Antarctica. These missions gathered critical ice elevation and thickness data and gave those on the DC-8 spectacular views such as the Ellsworth Mountains—home of Antarctica's highest point, Vinson Massif (16,067 feet)—and the rift in the Pine Island Glacier that was discovered during last year's Antarctic campaign.

    Early on the morning of Oct. 22, the IceBridge team met with hopes of clear weather over the Weddell Sea for a sea ice survey that would have coordinated with an overhead pass by CryoSat-2, the European Space Agency's ice monitoring satellite. With forecast models showing clouds in the Weddell Sea, IceBridge took off for a grounding line survey of the Ronne Ice Shelf, an area that promised clearer conditions. This mission extended a previous grounding line survey by following the grounding line around much of the western portion of the Ronne Ice Shelf boundary.

    "The conditions in the area were perfect," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. IceBridge researchers completed all planned survey lines and collected low-altitude data on the grounding line in the ice streams feeding into the Ronne Ice Shelf. The mission was designed to gather radar ice thickness information needed to calculate flux, or the amount of ice flowing through channels into the sea, in the area's ice streams.

    The following day, Oct. 23, the IceBridge team met at the airport to prepare for another successful mission. Although forecasts were predicting clear skies in the western part of Antarctica, the outlook in Punta Arenas was more menacing, calling for storms and a possibility of hail. The DC-8 avoided this by flying a newly designed high-altitude survey of the Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers in West Antarctica. This mission built on the region's ice elevation data by following historic ICESat tracks and lines previously measured with IceBridge's Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor.

    Although there were clouds below during the transit, the DC-8 ran into clear skies almost exactly as it reached the start of its survey line. "It was another perfect day for IceBridge," said Studinger. "Getting 35,000 feet of clear atmosphere doesn't happen every day."

    There was a bonus on this mission as well. While flying the grid on the Pine Island Glacier, the IceBridge DC-8 flew over the growing rift in the ice that was discovered during last year's Antarctic campaign. Both the Digital Mapping System and Airborne Topographic Mapper were able to collect data on the crack, which gathered attention from polar scientists around the world and has grown significantly over the past year.

    As on previous flights, members of the IceBridge team used the DC-8's online chat system to answer questions from teachers and students all over the United States. On a future flight, IceBridge plans to host two teachers from the Punta Arenas area and conduct a live Tweeting event during a flight.


    Return to Recovery Glacier and a Second Look at the Bellingshausen Sea

    An iceberg embedded in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 19.

    An iceberg embedded in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 19. Credit: NASA / George Hale.   › View larger

    After two more successful surveys and a no-fly day for routine aircraft maintenance, NASA's IceBridge team was looking forward to getting back to the work of mapping land and sea ice in the Antarctic. In the evening before every flight, mission planners decide on several options for the next day. This takes into account changes in the Antarctic weather that seem to happen with little notice. In this case, clouds over the Weddell Sea meant selecting high priority missions to survey sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea and map ice streams in Recovery Glacier.

    Recovery Glacier is a part of Antarctica that has rarely been surveyed from the air due to its remote location. It was only about 10 years ago that researchers using RADARSAT data discovered just how far inland the tributaries in Recovery Glacier went. This marks the second time that IceBridge has surveyed this area, and its initial flights over the ice streams a year ago met with enthusiasm. "It was applauded by the community because everyone was so desperate to get the data," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. The data gathered last year has already been included in a new compilation of the bedrock below the Antarctic ice sheet called Bedmap.

    Even though the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is considered relatively stable compared to the more dynamic West Antarctic, information about changes to the ice sheet's mass balance is crucial. Because it is such a significant ice stream, data on Recover Glacier is helpful in that regard. To predict how ice will flow takes information about both ice velocity and the shape and depth of channels the ice is flowing through, something that IceBridge is able to gather with its depth sounding radar, MCoRDS.

    On Oct. 19, forecast models showed favorable weather over the Bellingshausen Sea though with a large system moving from the Amundsen Sea in the Bellingshausen later in the day. This was the second of two planned flights in the Bellingshausen Sea. After the transit flight from Punta Arenas, the DC-8 descended to start its survey of sea ice and found dense cloud cover all the way down to the surface. The weather system had moved faster than forecasts predicted. "The Bellingshausen Sea is a challenging area in terms of good weather and reliable forecasts," said Studinger.

    After a short while, however, the DC-8 got past the clouds and fog and researchers were able to begin collecting data. Sea ice data in the Antarctic is something that is in short supply, with more attention being paid to ice in the Arctic Basin. "Sea ice is very dynamic and any information we can get on ice in the Antarctic, especially thickness, is significant," said sea ice scientist Nathan Kurtz of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Thickness in the Bellingshausen has increased slightly while area has decreased. We're looking at why that is."

    The Friday Bellingshausen Sea flight marked the end of a successful week of data gathering. In addition to the full-time job of measuring land and sea ice, members of the IceBridge team took time to do a little educational outreach by using the DC-8's satellite uplink to do live online chats with teachers in students around the United States, reaching 15 classrooms and more than 225 students.


    Foundation Ice Stream Survey

    Windblown snow coming off the Pensacola Mountains in Antarctica as seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 15.

    Looking like ocean waves is windblown snow coming off the Pensacola Mountains in Antarctica, as seen from the IceBridge DC-8 on Oct. 15. Credit: NASA / Jim Yungel   › Larger image

    On Oct. 15 NASA's Operation IceBridge resumed Antarctic survey flights after a down day on Sunday. Over the next two days, IceBridge scientists carried out two more high priority land-ice flights, one over the Foundation Ice Stream and one over Thwaites Glacier. As earlier, plans to survey sea ice were put on temporary hold due to unfavorable weather conditions in the region.

    Originally planned for Oct. 15 was a high-priority sea ice mission in the Weddell Sea that IceBridge researchers considered the most important of the campaign. On the evening of Oct. 14 weather forecasts were predicting excellent conditions for most of the Weddell Sea area and the timing was right to coordinate the flight with an overhead pass by CryoSat-2, the European Space Agency's ice monitoring satellite. "It is fairly rare that all these conditions are met on a single day," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger.

    The weather briefing at the Punta Arenas airport meteorology office the following morning showed a different picture though. With two conflicting forecasts and a lack of recent satellite imagery of the area, IceBridge researchers changed mission plans to a new high-priority land ice mission along the Foundation Ice Stream. "We decided the risk of losing data was too high," Studinger said.

    With near perfect weather over the Ronne Ice Shelf, the IceBridge DC-8 was able to gather data on suspected subglacial lakes in the Foundation Ice Stream. The DC-8 surveyed 13 such areas, but it will take further processing of data gathered by MCoRDS, the DC-8's radar depth sounder, to get a clear picture. In addition to these measurements, IceBridge scientists gathered altimetry data and digital images of portions of the Support Force Glacier and much of the Antarctic Peninsula thanks to cloud free conditions, and collected gravimeter readings over the Ronne Ice Shelf that can be used to improve knowledge about the depth and shape of the water cavity under the ice there.

    While returning to Punta Arenas, IceBridge mission planners decided on a high-altitude survey of the Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers based on forecast maps they received. The following morning though, conditions had changed, bringing high clouds that would obscure the view of the surface. As an alternative, IceBridge decided to do a low-altitude survey concentrating on Thwaites Glacier.

    The Oct. 16 flight over Thwaites Glacier builds on previous IceBridge and UTIG surveys of the area and improves the quality of data used as an input for ice sheet models. IceBridge scientists, instrument team members and flight crew members are taking Oct. 17 as a day for aircraft and instrument maintenance and rest. Science flights are scheduled to resume on Oct. 18.

    About the People of the IceBridge Mission:
    › Jefferson Beck - video producer
    › Christy Hansen - project manager
    › Christy Hansen’s career spotlight video


    One By Land and One By Sea

    The calving front of Thwaites Ice Shelf looking at the ice below the water's surface.

    The calving front of Thwaites Ice Shelf looking at the ice below the water's surface. Note how the water acts as a blue filter. Credit: NASA / Jim Yungel
    › Larger image

    NASA's Operation IceBridge got the 2012 Antarctic campaign off to a productive start with a land ice survey of Thwaites Glacier and a sea ice flight over parts of the Bellingshausen Sea. During the first few weeks of a campaign, IceBridge typically concentrates on sea ice before it begins to melt as spring temperatures rise, but as often happens in the field, the weather had other ideas.

    On Oct. 12, the IceBridge team met with meteorologists at the Punta Arenas airport to discuss weather conditions and make a final decision on where to fly. "The forecast for all sea ice science targets was hopeless," said IceBridge project scientist Michael Studinger. "We decided to take advantage of the unusually good conditions over the Thwaites Glacier area."

    Thwaites Glacier is a rapidly-changing ice stream in West Antarctica that flows into Pine Island Bay. A high priority area, Thwaites has been the subject of repeated missions over the past several years by IceBridge and other organizations, such as the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas at Austin (UTIG). UTIG is one of IceBridge's partnering organizations, though their survey in this region was part of a project that occurred before IceBridge. Combining new measurements with these previously gathered data gives researchers a more detailed view of parts of Thwaites Glacier, and the resulting information will help with various computer models used to predict how ice sheets change over time.

    On Oct. 13, the weather shifted somewhat, allowing for the first sea ice flight of the campaign, a high-priority mission in the Bellingshausen Sea along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. This marked the fourth year of data collection over this area. Repeated survey lines on both this flight and the previous one are vital for building a record of change in the Antarctic.

    The DC-8 also flew over Burke Island in the Amundsen Sea. Using the DC-8's Coherent Radar Depth Sounder, IceBridge scientists were able to record ice thickness on the small island, something Studinger said is a subject of some interest in the science community.


    Antarctic Flights Resume

    DC-8 over the Pacific

    NASA's DC-8 over the Pacific during transit to Chile.(Credit: NASA/Jim Yungel)
    › Larger image

    Scientists and flight crew members with Operation IceBridge, NASA's airborne mission to study Earth's changing polar ice, are beginning another campaign over Antarctica. Now in its fourth year, IceBridge's return to the Antarctic comes almost a year after the discovery of a large rift in the continent's Pine Island Glacier.

    The first science flight of the campaign began Oct. 12 at 8 a.m. EDT when NASA's DC-8 research aircraft left Punta Arenas, Chile, for an 11-hour flight that took it over the Thwaites Glacier in west Antarctica. This year, IceBridge will survey previously unmeasured areas of land and sea ice and gather further data on rapidly changing areas like Pine Island Glacier. The IceBridge Antarctic campaign will operate out of Punta Arenas through mid-November.

    Several of IceBridge's planned flights focus on previously unmeasured ice streams feeding into the Weddell Sea. These flights will gather data on what lies beneath these ice streams, something vital for understanding how changing conditions might affect the flow of ice into the ocean and sea-level rise.

    › More on this story ...


    On the Ground in Chile

    Volcano peak near Valdivia, Chile, as seen from the IceBridge DC-8. › View larger
    Volcano peak near Valdivia, Chile, as seen from the IceBridge DC-8. Credit: NASA / Jim Yungel.
    After days of work to install and test instruments, the IceBridge team loaded the DC-8 for its trip from NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operation Facility in Palmdale, Calif., to its campaign base of operations in Punta Arenas, Chile.

    The first leg of IceBridge's trip south, an approximately 11 hour flight, started around 11 p.m. PDT on Oct. 8 (2 a.m. EDT Oct. 9). The IceBridge DC-8 landed at Santiago International Airport early in the afternoon of Oct. 9.

    After an overnight stay in Santiago, IceBridge continued its journey south with a flight to Punta Arenas, Chile, arriving around noon on Oct. 10. After unloading the DC-8, the team will settle into what will be their new home for the next several weeks and prepare for a day of safety briefings, preparing scientific equipment and monitoring the Antarctic weather. The first of IceBridge's Antarctic science flights is slated for Friday, Oct. 12.

    For more about the flight from California to Chile, visit:


    Preparing the DC-8 for Antarctica 2012

    IceBridge DC-8 preparing for outdoor ATM ground test. › View larger
    NASA's DC-8 preparing for outdoor ATM ground testing in support of the upcoming IceBridge Antarctic campaign.

    The MCoRDS antenna installed on the DC-8. › View larger
    The MCoRDS antenna installed on the DC-8.
    Over the next few weeks the IceBridge team will prepare NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory for the 2012 Antarctic campaign. Long hours in the hangar at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility mean that the Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCoRDS) antenna and Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) have been installed and all ground tests for ATM are complete. Next week, the radar and gravimeter teams will begin their preparation work.

    › View more photos of the DC-8 preparations.

    Check out Polar Field's Q&A with IceBridge Project Scientist Michael Studinger

    Visit the IceBridge mission page and blog for updates throughout the campaign, and follow @NASA_ICE for mission tweets.


Antarctic 2012 Campaign

    October - November, 2012
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