NASA to launch ICESat-2 to measure melting ice
NASA is set to launch the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), a satellite equipped with the most advanced laser instrument of its kind. ICESat-2 will provide observations of how the Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice are changing.
ICESat-2 represents a major technological leap in the ability to measure changes in ice height.
ICESat-2 will measure height using Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS). It measures the height by calculating the amount of time taken by individual light photons to travel from the spacecraft to Earth and back.
ATLAS will fire 10,000 times each second, sending hundreds of trillions of photons to the ground in six beams of green light. ICESat-2 will measure the heights of the ice along the same path in the polar regions four times a year to provide seasonal ice elevation changes.