NASA's ICESat-2 Lifts-Off& In-Orbit
|Photo: Courtesy of NASA|
ICESat-2 Global Ice Melt Tracker
NASA launched its ICESat-2 satellite into space. The satellite contains NASA's most high powered laser. It will provide unprecedented, highly valuable observations on how glaciers, ice sheets and sea ice are changing. It will precisely measure the thickness of Earth's polar ice sheets, snow cover and permafrost.
Bonus on Board
A surprise bonus is also on board. 2 ELFIN CubeSats. They're a pair of tiny satellites that will study how energetic electrons make their way from space to the earth's atmosphere.
Measuring Ice and Melt
ICESat-2's laser splits into 6 beams to precisely measure the Earth's polar ice formations. The calculations are done by the amount of time it takes the laser beam to leave the satellite, hit and bounce off the ice and arrive back at the satellite.
Massive Data & Important Climate Change Insights from this Mission
This is a 3 year mission that will provide data 24/7/365 through 2021. The orbit will make 1387 unique ground tracks around Earth in 91 days and do the same ground pattern again. It's expected to provide very significant insights into Climate Change and how the changes impact people where they live.