At Palmer Station, Antarctica, NSF-funded US research program participants used their bright red parkas to send ground-to-air greetings to scientists and the flight crew aboard NASA's DC-8 flying science laboratory as it flew over the station during Operation Ice Bridge. Operation Ice Bridge is a study of polar ice sheets, sea ice and glacial recession.
The missions help bridge the data gap between ICESat-I (which will likely end this year) and the launch of ICESat-II (around 2014). Satellite information provided by the ICESat program help scientists understand and monitor changes in the planet's polar icescapes.
Operation Ice Bridge flew over Greenland last April, as it has most years since 1991 (William Krabill, NASA Wallops, leads the arctic work). You can learn more about the mission, and get in the plane with the NASA scientists, via the video posted to the Operation Ice Bridge Greenland page.
Want more? Visit the Ice Bridge blog!
Update: Our friend, the expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin, writes about Operation Ice Bridge on her blog. Her father, Seelye Martin (U Washington), is conducting research on the flying laboratory. "When I was young, he embarked on several cruises to the Arctic and shared stories of the ice, animals, and darkness" she recalls. "I remember talking through radio-patch phone calls and at home, his two large parkas fill the hall closet." Maria says her interest in painting ice springs largely from her father. View her work on her Web site.