Many watchful eyes in the sky   Page 3 Page 5

During the entire expedition, five polar-orbiting weather satellites were regularly watching and photographing the locations where the field team was working. Data from weather satellites operated by NOAA provided real-time images of the weather and leads in the sea ice for planning the tactical deployment of the fuel cache on a suitable ice floe midway between land's end and the North Pole. NOAA satellite meteorologist Wayne Winston interpreted the NOAA satellite imagery and weather observations collected at Resolute Bay and posted a discussion of the daily weather situation for both the expedition team and students to follow. Additionally, David Walsh and others at the National Ice Center provided near-real-time 550-meter-resolution Operational Linescan System (OLS) imagery from satellites of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) on a routine basis. They also provided very high-resolution (50 meter) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery from the Canadian Radarsat satellite. Combined with the Arctic expertise of our pilots, this imagery enabled the team to see through the cloud cover to help us pinpoint the appropriate ice floes to land on.

North Pole

Education and Outreach


High Resolution image from the Canadian Radarsat satellite.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, the expedition team worked closely with Tom Albert and Dr. Bob Gabrys of GSFC's Education Office on the design of the education and webcast plans. Schools selected through the Aqua Project's "You Be the Scientist" program participated in the adventures by interacting with the team via a special webchat during the live webcasts. The webcasts were available to anyone with Internet access, while the chat sessions were restricted to the pre-selected participating schools. Topics of the webcasts included Inuit culture, sea ice, ozone, remote sensing, and satellite technology. During the webcast from the Qarmartalik School, the local Inuit students and students from schools in the United States exchanged information about their respective cultures. The following U.S. schools participated in the live chat sessions: Indian Valley Middle School, Harleysville, PA; Forest Hills High School, Sidman, PA; Brigantine North Middle School, Brigantine, NJ; Red Cloud High School, Pine Ridge, SD; DuVal High School, Greenbelt, MD; Northwest High School, Gaithersburg, MD; Mississippi School for the Deaf, Jackson, MS; and Terry Parker High School, Jacksonville, FL. Other schools from Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia were online at various times as well.

All-in-all, ten webcasts were completed, usually at 22 kilobits per second to allow schools with 28.8 kilobits per second (or higher) modem connections to participate. However, exclusive webcasts were broadcast to San Francisco's Exploratorium on April 24 at 100 kilobits per second and another to GSFC on April 30 at 50 kilobits per second, the latter in concert with the Center's 40th Anniversary celebration. On April 29, Goddard Space Flight Center's Deputy Director William Townsend participated in a live web chat with a select group of students from the Qarmartalik School.

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  Claire Parkinson

Chief Scientist Dr. Claire Parkinson presents a slide show on sea ice at the Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay.

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