UW Oceanographer Seelye Martin is the lead scientist on NASA's Operation Ice Bridge, which aims to use aircraft surveys of the polar regions to fill an information gap about ice thickness. The project comes as a supplement to and later replacement for NASA's satellite "ICESat" which is expected to reach the end of its operational life later this year. According to Martin "we would just be blind for six years without these aircraft flights".
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UW News: http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=52616
Operation Ice Bridge Blog: http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/icebridge