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RADARSAT Maps Give Researchers a Fresh Look at the Antarctic

In a 1997 collaborative effort, NASA launched the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT Satellite which spent eighteen days over the Southern Hemisphere forming the first high-resolution radar maps of the Antarctic. RADARSAT's unusual capabilities make it possible to capture data even through darkness, clouds, and fog. Unveiled to the public on October 18, 1999, the new maps are so clear and detailed that a research bungalow on an iceberg or the tracks of a snow tractor can be picked out and recognized. Researchers believe the new high-resolution maps will greatly advance understanding of Antarctica. The maps show topographic details like the flows of ice, called ice streams, which run into the sea. The new data has great potential for furthering our understanding of the major role the Antarctic plays in regulating global climate and sea levels. This week's In The News provides an early view of these technologically superior images of the Antarctic, as well as access to a few of the important ice research facilities around the country.
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Date of Scout Publication 1999-10-27
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