Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Change of Venue for NASA's IceBridge Antarctic Operations

21.08.2013
This fall, NASA's Operation IceBridge will base its annual Antarctic campaign out of National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station, a change from the mission's previous four campaigns that were based in Punta Arenas, Chile. By switching bases of operations, IceBridge will be able to expand its reach by measuring parts of Antarctica previously unavailable to the mission.

"Antarctica is a big place and there are many science targets for us to hit," said Tom Wagner, cryosphere program scientist at NASA headquarters, Washington.


View of McMurdo Station from Hut Point.
Image Credit: NASA / Christy Hansen

This change comes after nearly a year of planning and collaboration between NASA and the National Science Foundation or NSF, to ensure that the station could support IceBridge's personnel, equipment and aircraft requirements.

NSF oversees all U.S.-based scientific expeditions in Antarctica and the U.S. Antarctic Program and Antarctic Service Contract manage operations at McMurdo Station. Because of this, IceBridge planners worked closely with NSF, U.S. Antarctic Program and Antarctic Service Contract personnel to arrange the upcoming campaign.

"It is fantastic to see how NSF, ASC, the Air National Guard and NASA have worked together to make this happen," said Michael Studinger, IceBridge's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The NASA P-3 adds tremendous capabilities to the existing suite of research aircraft that have been used for science data collection over Antarctica."

"The initial challenge was trying to comprehend and identify all of the requirements, constraints and factors of operating science instruments and a wheeled aircraft in a complex and remote environment," said Christy Hansen, IceBridge's project manager at NASA Goddard. "We've been working on this in the background during our last two campaigns."

Late in 2012, NASA representatives traveled to Antarctica to document available resources at McMurdo Station, meet with station personnel and get a better understanding of NSF's regulations. The representatives also verified availability of housing, food and transportation. They checked to ensure IceBridge could operate the mission's aircraft, instruments and equipment without placing an undue burden on NSF or other scientific operations there.

After returning from Antarctica, IceBridge mission planners, instrument teams and the aircraft office at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia continued working with NSF to document the mission's requirements. This included working out an accurate headcount for scientists, instrument operators and flight crew and making sure that there would be enough fuel and storage space for the P-3 and the equipment needed to maintain it. Because McMurdo is a remote location the team needs to secure spare parts for any necessary repairs.

While this planning work was taking place, aircraft technicians at Wallops were upgrading the P-3 aircraft so it would meet NSF's requirements and be optimized for flying in Antarctica. Among the upgrades are new flight management and synthetic vision systems and updated satellite communication hardware. "The new flight management and synthetic vision systems will provide the P-3 the ability to perform GPS approaches into airports worldwide and improve reduce visibility landing capabilities," said Mike Cropper, aircraft operations manager at NASA Wallops.

In late October 2013, IceBridge will start survey flights out of McMurdo with the P-3. Flying out of Punta Arenas, Chile, allowed IceBridge researchers to measure portions of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. However, there is less information on areas like the Ross Ice Shelf and portions of East Antarctica. "The Ross Ice Shelf is the size of France and poorly understood," Wagner said.

Having better data on these areas would improve knowledge of how the ice shelf interacts with nearby ice streams and what is happening to the continent's ice mass balance as a whole. "Operating the P-3 from McMurdo has the potential to turn into a real game changer for airborne science in Antarctica and will create many new opportunities for science data collection," said Studinger. "It will now be possible to collect data over areas that have been difficult and costly to reach."

For more information on Operation Ice Bridge, visit:
   www.nasa.gov/icebridge
George Hale
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

George Hale | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/content/icebridge/news/fall13/change-venue-nasa-icebridge-antarctic-operations/#.UhOsfD_ZXlU
http://www.nasa.gov/icebridge

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>