Baffin Bay
Baffin Bay

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Baffin Bay

Mario Tama/Getty Images

ONE day soon, much of the icy polar landscape could be water. Among the first people to know will be NASA researchers who monitor the melting ice sheets and frozen seas by flying long missions over them to check their thickness.

These vital efforts are known as Operation IceBridge. For the past decade, NASA teams have used adapted aircraft and remote runways to survey polar areas. These flying laboratories are packed with specialised equipment such as radar, lasers and cameras, and carry up to 30 crew.

Geoscientist David Gallaher examines instruments in the cargo hold

Geoscientist David Gallaher …

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New Scientist – Earth