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Tag: ICESat

Nasa's IceSat space laser makes height maps of Earth

Nasa's IceSat space laser makes height maps of Earth

Science
One of the most powerful Earth observation tools ever put in orbit is now gathering data about the planet.IceSat-2 was launched just under three months ago to measure the shape of the ice sheets to a precision of 2cm.But the Nasa spacecraft's laser instrument is also now returning a whole raft of other information.It is mapping the height of the land, of rivers, lakes, forests; and in a remarkable demonstration of capability - even the depth of the seafloor."We can see down to 30m in really clear waters," said Lori Magruder, the science team leader on the IceSat mission. "We saw one IceSat track just recently that covers 300km in the Caribbean and you see the ocean floor the entire way," the University of Texas researcher told BB...
ICESat: Space laser to get unprecedented view of Earth's ice

ICESat: Space laser to get unprecedented view of Earth's ice

Science
The American space agency is about to put a laser in orbit to measure the condition of Earth's ice cover. The satellite mission, called ICESat-2, should provide more precise information on how these frozen surfaces are being affected by global warming. Antarctica, Greenland and the ice floating on the Arctic Ocean have all lost volume in recent decades. ICESat-2 will track ongoing change in unprecedented detail from its vantage point some 500km above the planet. A Delta II rocket is booked to take the satellite laser into space on Saturday. Lift-off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is scheduled for 05:46 local time (12:46 GMT; 13:46 BST). As the name suggests, ICESat-2 is a follow-on project. The original spacecra...