By Ryan BradleyPosted 01.17.2012 at 3:59 pm 2 Comments
Sten-Christian Pedersen oversees the northernmost antenna array on Earth, 25 dishes tracking about 100 satellites on the small archipelago of Svalbard, 500 miles south of the North Pole. Even when the winds are –76°F and visibility is 10 feet, Pedersen drives to the satellite station. When there is a risk of avalanche, he takes a helicopter. When there are polar bears, he carries a firearm.
This Thursday, NASA will kick off the largest aerial survey ever undertaken of Earth's polar regions. The effort will help fill a multi-year gap between the satellite missions that usually track changes in ice, and should also help scientists understand how the changing ice sheets might contribute to sea level rise around the world.