Data from a small satellite that was deployed from the International Space Station last May was used to create the first global map of the small frozen particles that make up ice clouds. The smallsat—called IceCube—weighs around 10 pounds and is about the size of a loaf of bread. Although IceCube was originally designed to have a mission lasting only three months, it has been orbiting the Earth and collecting data for a year. Ice clouds are key variables in weather and climate models but are difficult to study, and data from IceCube could help improve weather modeling and forecasts.
Check out the latest issue of Upward, the official magazine of the ISS National Lab, to learn more about:
- How the ISS is serving as a reliable launchpad for small satellites performing a wide variety of research, communications, and Earth-observation missions (Jumpstarting the CubeSat Revolution with Reliable Launch from the ISS)
- How scientists are using the unique vantage point of the ISS in low Earth orbit to improve measurements and predictions of tropical cyclone intensity and trajectory (Tropical Cyclone in Sight: Tracking Hurricanes & Typhoons from Space)