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The NASA ice tracking satellite measures polar ice with precise accuracy using lasers



A photo of the ICESat-2 arrived at the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base will send a sophisticated laser satellite to track changes in the ice cover. The agency hopes to provide data and predict the rate at which global warming will contribute to sea-level rise. ( NASA )

NASA will monitor the changes on the ice rinks that cover Greenland and Antarctica with a state-of-the-art laser in space.

This week, the Space Agency announced the Ice, and Land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, a project that aims to increase the increase / increase of ice, land topography, and vegetation cover on Earth in response to the changing climate measure up.

"The new observation technologies of ICESat-2 ̵

1; a top recommendation of the scientific community in the first NASA geography test – will advance our knowledge of how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are contributing to sea-level rise," said the Earth Director Science Division NASA Science Mission Directorate News Release

The laser instruments will be launched on 15 September from Vanderberg Air Force Base in California.

Most Advanced Laser Instrument

The ICESat-2 is equipped with the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System or ATLAS, which is considered the best of its kind. The laser instrument works by firing 10,000 pulses per second back to Earth to measure the height, based on how long individual photos make a round from the spacecraft to the ground and back to the instrument.

ICESat-2 will be able to send hundreds of trillions of photons back to Earth for the most accurate altitude measurement. The new satellite can deliver better results than its predecessor, the ICESat introduced in 2003, which was decommissioned in 2010.

The state-of-the-art laser will orbit the earth from pole to pole and be able to track changes in the ice four times a year or in any season.

Forecasting the Future on the Basis of Melting Ice

Observing the altitude at which the ice melts in the north and south poles due to the increasingly hot planet can help scientists predict the rise of ice elevation. The hundreds of billions of tons of land ice that melt into the oceans each year are still a significant contributor to the sea-level rise that threatens to submerge major cities worldwide.

Scientists believe that the ocean has risen by 7 centimeters in 25 years. As the planet continues to warm, it is expected that sea levels will rise faster.

"Because ICESat-2 will deliver measurements of unprecedented precision with global coverage, it will not only give new insights into the polar regions, but also unexpected results around the world," adds Thorsten Markus, the ICESat-2 project scientist.

The ICESat-2 can also monitor forests around the world. The same laser can be used to measure treetops and the ground below.

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