Friday, April 9, 2010

European Satellite to Map Earth's Ice... or Lack Thereof

The European Space Agency (ESA) launched Thursday from Kazakhstan its CryoSat-2 satellite in an effort to map Earth’s ice cover. From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change. In doing so it will measure changes in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland, as well as variations in the thickness of the relatively thin ice floating in the polar oceans.

launch of CryoSat-2 is the third in a series of ESA's Earth observation satellites now orbiting the planet. These 'Earth Explorers' as ESA calls them, are periodically launched in direct response to issues identified by the scientific community and aim to improve our understanding of how human activity is affecting Earth's natural processes.

I think it's pretty neat indeed, to see other world regions working on Earth science issues just as
NASA does here in the U.S.!