Feeds

ESA preps polar research sat

Cryosat to probe effects of global warming

High performance access to file storage

Europe is preparing to launch a satellite designed to test the prediction that climate change is causing the ice at the poles to thin.

Cryosat, which is slated to launch on 8 October, will spend three years in orbit, studying the polar caps, the BBC reports. The data it gathers should help scientists better understand how global warming will affect the planet's ice cover and sea levels.

The satellite will blast off from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome, aboard an cold war relic: a modified intercontinental ballistic missile called Rockot, which is a SS-19 two-stage rocket fitted with a Breeze-KM third stage that will put the payload in its final orbit. The SS-19, which NATA called Stiletto, was first built two decades ago to serve as a weapon of nuclear war. You can read more about it here.

Once in orbit, the satellite will spend six months in a commissioning phase. Once it goes live, its radar altimeter will begin its survey of the floating sea ice at the poles. By measuring the height of the ice, and knowing its density, scientists will be able to calculate its mass.

The European SPace Agency already has two satellites (ERS-1 and ERS-2) looking at the arctic and antarctic ice sheets. However, the coverage they provide is limited, and doesn't extend to the outer edges of the ice sheets.

Researchers say that ERS-1 and 2 have proven the methods that Cryosat will employ do actually work. In combination with NASA's Icesat mission - which is measuring the land-based ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland using a laser altimeter - the Cryosat data should give researchers the clearest picture yet of changes to polar ice cover. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.