NASA launches ice-mon­i­tor­ing laser to space on Delta II’S fi­nal flight

Iran Daily - - Science & Technology -

NASA launched its Ice, Cloud and land El­e­va­tion Satel­lite-2 (ICESAT-2) mis­sion.

The laser-tot­ing ice-mea­sur­ing satel­lite is now on its way to space where it will soon track the chang­ing heights of Earth’s ice struc­tures, in­ter­estin­gengi­neer­ wrote.

The event also marks the fi­nal launch of a United Launch Al­liance Delta II rocket. The nearly 30 years old rocket was man­u­fac­tured by the United Launch Al­liance and took its first trip back in 1989.

The Delta II will now see its fi­nal jour­ney start the ICESAT-2 mis­sion. This key en­vi­ron­men­tal project will in­volve us­ing the space­craft’s only in­stru­ment, the Ad­vanced To­po­graphic Laser Al­time­ter Sys­tem (AT­LAS), to tracks Earth’s icy sur­faces such as glaciers, sea ice, lakes and more.

Earth’s cryosphere will now be ex­plored as never be­fore through ICESAT-2’S com­bi­na­tion of lasers with a very pre­cise de­tec­tion in­stru­ment.

“By tim­ing how long it takes laser beams to travel from the satel­lite to Earth and back, sci­en­tists can cal­cu­late the height of glaciers, sea ice, forests, lakes and more — in­clud­ing the chang­ing ice sheets of Green­land and Antarc­tica,” ex­plained NASA’S blog.

Un­like its pre­de­ces­sor, the orig­i­nal ICESAT, ICESAT-2 is es­sen­tially em­ploy­ing what NASA de­scribes as “a mi­cro-pulse, multi-beam ap­proach.”

Us­ing a sen­sor equipped with a high pulserep­e­ti­tion rate of about 10khz, the satel­lite will pro­vide mea­sure­ments ev­ery 70cm along its track­ing jour­ney.

This will re­sult in im­proved el­e­va­tion es­ti­mates of sloped ar­eas and rough land sur­faces. Most of all, the project will pro­vide de­tails on height dif­fer­ences be­tween po­lar oceans and sea ice con­tribut­ing to an­a­lyz­ing the cur­rent im­pact of global warm­ing es­ca­la­tion.


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