NASA's IceBridge Mission Shares a New Photo of Giant Glacial Valleys

Monday, 30 April 2018 - 8:48PM
Earth
NASA
Monday, 30 April 2018 - 8:48PM
NASA's IceBridge Mission Shares a New Photo of Giant Glacial Valleys
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NASA/Joe MacGregor
Since NASA is most well known for exploring, and justifiably so, it's easy to forget that the agency focuses a fair amount on our home planet as well.

Which is why they run missions like IceBridge, which NASA describes as the "largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown" as they take a close look at Arctic and Antarctic locales. The research is both useful for filling gaps in our scientific knowledge about the Earth's poles, while also being crucial for understanding what's happening to them as the effects of climate change continue to take hold.

On April 26, 2018, IceBridge ran one of their longest aerial surveys yet, flying over a large chunk of Arctic and near-Arctic points of interest for 8.7 hours. During that flight, they took a pretty impressive shot of a mountain ridge in Greenland with two glacial valleys on opposite sides, giving the photo a striking symmetry. 

See it below:




Having existed since 2009, IceBridge takes yearly surveys of the Arctic and Antarctic, and will continue flying over the Arctic - and close, icy spots like Greenland - through the end of May. Later this year from October through November, they'll be doing the same in the Antarctic down south, looking out for penguins and possible shoggoths (not really, unless they're big fans of In The Mountains of Madness). 

IceBridge has had an especially odd survey this year, coming across some strange holes in Beaufort Sea ice not far from the Arctic Ocean. NASA still has no idea what caused them, as they've never been spotted anywhere else as of yet.

Either way, we'll still have a whole month of more amazing and possibly bizarre Arctic photos ahead of us. But since losing the Arctic to climate change would have drastic consequences around the world, let's hope it remains uneventful.

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