NASA researchers are working on software for a satellite that will measure changes in the ice sheet in Greenland, according to the 21st Space Wing. Researchers spent about three weeks at Thule AB, Greenland, using lasers to measure distances to Earth and a spectrometer to measure the wavelength of light from the surface, to better understand the ice sheet and help in the development of software for the ICESat-2, or Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite. The first ICESat operated from 2003 to 2009 and measured changes in the ice sheet, specifically in Greenland. ICESat-2 will be launched into a polar orbit about 280 miles above Earth for similar research. The 821st Air Base Group hosted the team of 19 scientists, pilots, instrument operators, and maintainers, who flew for hours every day to collect the necessary measurements. “It’s been fantastic, we’ve had amazing support from the community. Everything has gone smoothly across the board,” said Kelly Brunt, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. Brunt works with NASA on the ICESat-2 project.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.