Feeds

ESA preps polar research sat

Cryosat to probe effects of global warming

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?