We will now be able to see much clearer images of how ice over the Earth is melting thus increasing the levels of sea with the help of data which will be collected by the special satellite deployed by NASA. The satellite will revolve over 1000 paths in a span of 91 days. The satellite is about a size of that of a car and has 6 lasers installed over it which will concentrate over the sheets of ice in Antarctica and the Arctic. The data will be processed depending upon the time taken by the laser beams to return to the satellites after bouncing over the sheets of ice. The heights of the sheets of ice will now be calculated more accurately by NASA along with their thickness.
Tom Neumann, who is the deputy scientist in the NASA’s mission, said that till now we could just measure the area across which the sheets of ice are spread in the oceans and we are able to do this since the year 1980. But measuring the thickness of those sheets was not possible because of the technological limitations and the lack of especially dedicated satellites for it. Ice in Antarctica and the Greenland is melting and has been increasing the levels of sea by a millimeter every year all over the world since long. If the level of sea continues to rise at such an alarming level, the overall level could be seen higher by several feet as this century ends.
The satellite is named as IceSat 2 and was launched on Saturday. The newly launched satellite has replaced the earlier one which has been already decommissioned since the year 2009. According to some estimates, the thickness of the sea reduced by almost 40 percent in size from the year 2003 to 2009.