Artist's impression of ICESat orbiting Earth.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA
News story originally written on January 17, 2003
NASA launched the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation satellite (ICESat) on January
ICESat will use a laser to measure the height of the ice sheets that cover Greenland
and Antarctica. These measurements will help scientists learn whether the ice
sheets are shrinking, growing, or staying the same size. Knowing about changes
in the ice sheets can help us understand changes in Earth's climate, including
possible changes in sea level caused by global warming.
ICESat was launched from California aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.
The satellite will orbit Earth about 600 kilometers (373 miles)
up in a polar orbit that will carry it over both the North and South Poles.
The Delta II rocket also carried a second, smaller satellite called CHIPS which will study dust and gas in space.
CHIPS is about the size of a large suitcase.
You might also be interested in:
Recently, scientists at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research have shown that there is a 90% chance that global temperatures will rise 3-9 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. This is...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more