NASA counts down to launch of laser study of ice sheets

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NASA counted down Saturday to the launch of its $1 billion ICESat-2 mission, using advanced lasers to uncover the true depth of the melting of Earth’s ice sheets.

The mission will inform sea level rise forecasts and is “exceptionally important for science,” according to Richard Slonaker, ICESat-2 program executive at NASA.

The half-ton satellite should reveal unprecedented detail about the current thickness of ice at the vulnerable polar regions as the climate warms.

The weather forecast was 100 percent favorable for the 40-minute launch window opening at 8:46 am (1246 GMT) on Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

 

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