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IceBridge at McMurdo: A Year and a Half of Planning
by George Hale for Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Nov 27, 2013


With the successful landing of the NASA P-3 aircraft on McMurdo Station's seasonal sea ice runway, Operation IceBridge is opening the door to a whole new suite of remote science targets in Antarctica. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Jefferson Beck. View video here.

Making the current NASA Operation IceBridge campaign - the first to ever operate directly from Antarctica - a reality took a year and a half of planning and coordination, finishing with weeks of intense work both at home and in Antarctica.

Before anything at all could happen, the mission's science team had to come up with science flight plans. And mission planners worked closely with the National Science Foundation to work out how to operate NASA's P-3 aircraft in such a remote locale as McMurdo Station by making upgrades to the aircraft and training its crew.

IceBridge instrument teams quickly installed the mission's scientific gear and then packed up and flew off to Christchurch, New Zealand, for training and special cold weather gear, before boarding a U.S. Air Force transport plane for the last hop to the ice.

Once at McMurdo, the teams went into high gear, setting up ground-based equipment used to calibrate the aircraft's instruments and preparing for the arrival of NASA's P-3, which was making the five-day-long transit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, across the Pacific to New Zealand and finally to McMurdo Station.

When the NASA research aircraft touched down on McMurdo's eight-foot-thick sea ice runway on Nov. 16, the team was there to meet the plane, eager to begin a new chapter for IceBridge.

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Related Links
IceBridge
Beyond the Ice Age






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Narrow stripes of dirt and rock beneath massive Antarctic glaciers create friction zones that slow the flow of ice toward the sea, researchers at Princeton University and the British Antarctic Survey have found. Understanding how these high-friction regions form and subside could help researchers understand how the flow of these glaciers responds to a warming climate. Just as no-slip strip ... read more


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