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Icy Continent Mapped from Space with RADARSAT

Last week, scientists released images from the first high-resolution radar map of Antarctica. Taken over a period of eighteen days in 1997 by a NASA-launched Canadian satellite called RADARSAT, the images have revealed a number of amazing features never seen before. The most important of these is a complex network of ice streams, huge rivers of ice that move ice and snow from the continent's interior to the sea, some moving up to 3,000 feet and one system that sends up to 19 cubic miles of ice to the sea each year. Another hidden feature imaged by RADARSAT was Lake Vostok, a massive fresh water lake laying two miles beneath the surface of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. This site, hosted by NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, offers a fascinating and often beautiful virtual tour of Antarctica, divided into fifteen stops, featuring images of varying resolution and QuickTime movies. Users can also read the official press release and learn more about the RADARSAT mission with provided links. For further resources on RADARSAT and Antarctica, see the October 27, 1999 Scout Report for Science and Engineering.
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Date of Scout Publication 1999-10-29
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