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Welcome to the archive of the
Final Webcast for the Lima II Quest Challenge
Aired Live December 3, 2008
See more information on the Challenge
Get to know your participating scientists by reading their bios.


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>> Hello and welcome to the closing webcast for the LIMA Quest Challenge.
It stands for Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica.
And this webcast marks the conclusion of the LIMA challenge and today our experts will provide feedback on some of the final proposals we've received.
I'm Rebecca Green.
With me today is Linda Conrad who will be fielding your questions throughout this webcast.
You may submit your questions at any time and keep them focused on the proposals and LIMA imagery and the discussions we're having during this webcast.
We have five scientists joining us from across the U.S. and even Antarctica today.
We'll take a moment to meet them and learn about what they do and how the LIMA imagery helps them do their job.
First, we have Robert Bindschadler the chief scientist coming to us from Maryland.
Bob, welcome and tell us about what you do and how LIMA helps you.

>> I sure will.
Thank you Rebecca.
Good to see you again and a pleasure to be here.
I'm a glaciologist.
I work with NASA been working here for 30 years.
I look at the ice sheets.
We do that from space and we do it by working in Antarctica as well.
Land sat imagery has been key to what I've been doing here the last 30 years.
Initially they gave us the very best map.
We didn't have maps of places where we wanted to go and study in Antarctica.
Just as a basic map the land sat image has been important.
But we've been able to use them how fast the ice goes, by tracking features from one image to the next and even more recently we can measure elevation of the ice sheet using the imagery.
Land sat imagery because a part of just about everything we do.
We LIMA we've been able to get 1,000 images of Antarctica and use it the same way as we used to.
You're always finding new ways to use it.
The next person it's my turn to introduce is Tom Wagner at the National Science Foundation.
Tom, are you there?

>> I'm here.
Nice to meet all you guys again.
I work at the National Science Foundation which is the arm of government that supports basic research.
Part of it is the U.S. Army program that supports the scientists that want to do work in Antarctica.
LIMA is an important part of our program for a bunch of reasons.
People use LIMA to do things like study the glaciers direct lit but we use it as a base map.
Right now there are a group of people driving to the south pole.
We put them on the LIMA base map and we look for dinosaurs like that.
Figure out where penguins will go.
I will stop there and turn it back to Rebecca.

>> Thank you, Tom.
Next we're going to hear from Ginny Catania from the University of Texas.
She's a research scientist at Austin's institute for geo physics.
Can you explain how LIMA helps you?

>> I'm Ginny Catania.
I work in Greenland and Antarctica.
I've been doing a lot of field work but getting more interested in using satellite imagery to understand properties of the ice sheets and how they change over time.
I got my start in Antarctica by using satellite images to try to understand, like Bob said, where we want to go on the ground.
We need to have a goal so we want to look at maps and figure out where are the interesting places to go to and we need to be able to get there efficiently because it's difficult to work there.
We want to make sure that we can really quickly and easily pinpoint where we need to go.
LIMA images and other images are valuable for me to do my field work.
This year I'm not going to Antarctica.
I'm happy to be home with my husband and cat and my garden and looking at satellite images in my office instead of being cold in a tent like Ted Scambos is.

>> Thank you, Ginny, the pictures are wonderful.
Like Ginny said we also have Ted Scambos joining us, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Ted is down in Antarctica.
Are you there?

>> Hi, yes.
This is Ted Scambos and as Rebecca introduced, I'm from the University of Colorado.
I came to Antarctica about two or three weeks ago to help a team of Norwegian and U.S. scientists send up a traverse.
We'll be crossing part of Antarctica and looking at some new features that we identified in satellite images like the LIMA map.
The new features are lakes deep beneath the ice sheet and some upper parts of glaciers where the glaciers just begin to flow fast and also some ripple marks that some of you noticed in the LIMA image called negative.
I have a if -- a few props that I can show you how we make measurements nowadays in Antarctica.
This guy over here is actually a radar system.
Inside this box here are some electronics that we hook up to a power source and out of each of these big fin-looking devices radio waves come out that allow us to see into the upper parts of the ice sheet and map the layers of the snow in the upper part of the the sheets.
And over here next to me I've got a piece actually a part of an aircraft that we're going to be flying.
It's remotely-piloted aircraft that might be too risky for us to drive over.
There is also a camera in here.
I can open this up a bit and show you that there is just full of electronics inside this aircraft that allow us to map Antarctica in yet another way with remote sensing but in a different way.
We can bring this with us on the traverse and send it to places we don't want to drive over and make sure it's safe before we go.
Rebecca, what's next?

>> All right, great.
Thanks, Ted.
The props you have are wonderful.
So thank you all to our experts for joining us today.
Before we move on, let's briefly recap what this LIMA fall challenge is all about.
As Earth scientists you and your team members have studied LIMA imagery.
You've studied the feature that interested you and written a proposal explaining why you find the feature interesting and geologically what you think is happening to create that feature.
We'll look at some of those proposals today and give you feedback.
Let me recap the challenge as a whole.
In September we started registration and received 140 registration forms from classrooms, as well -- which represented 3,200 students across the U.S. and around the world.

>> I'm sorry, Rebecca, this is Linda Conrad.
Out of sight, out of mind.
We have not introduced Ken to the people here and this is his first webcast with us.
Let's not forget Ken.

>> My apologies.
I skipped right over Ken's name here.
Ken is joining us today over the phone.
Ken is coming to us from the University of Ohio, or Ohio State University, I should say.
He's a professor of Earth sciences there and Ken, can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

>> Happy to.
I'm delighted to participate in this event.
I have looked at all the proposals and I'm quite impressed with them.
My interests are much the same as my colleagues in trying to understand how the Antarctica ice sheet is behaving today and more importantly how it will behave in the future.
Along with science I'm interested in technology and interested in radars.
The radars we're keen on using are those operated from space and provide kind of a complementary image dataset to the LIMA images that you've been studying.
In fact, I was happy to see in some of your proposals you actually used some of the radar sat images that we proud some years ago to illustrate your ideas.
I look forward to hearing more about them as the hour goes by.

>> Great.
Thank you, Ken.
I apologize for overlooking your name there.
So again thank you to everyone that's joined us today and has introduced themselves.
So going back to what we've done over the past couple of months, we had registration in September, on October 1st we opened the challenge with an opening webcast and we had our scientists joining us on that day.
They talked about what they do, how LIMA helps them much like we've heard from our scientists just now.
We then received 35 preliminary proposals from different classrooms and those represented over 200 students.
Our scientists reviewed those proposals, offered some feedback.
We followed that with a web chat.
We had 350 students joining us in that web chat.
And then now we've received final proposals from over 200 -- that represent over 200 students and those are what we're going to be talking about today.
So thank you everyone for joining us.
There is science in every piece of Antarctica and so you've been helping us explore that science through your proposals.
You and your team found a feature on the continent that was of particular interest to you.
You've written about that and submitted it and today we'll talk about the proposals you've written.
I'll have Bob explain are review process and get into the reviews themselves.
Bob, are you there?

>> Click your mute button, Bob to make sure you're coming through.

>> Can you hear me?
Thanks again how we got to this point.
It's been an interesting journey for us to offer up this wonderful dataset to the students and have them embrace it through their teachers and science classes and submit their proposals.
There were so many proposals.
39 proposals.
We didn't have a lot of time to go through them all.
The five of us divided up the proposals into four groups and so four of us are going to discuss just that group that each of us looked at and then finally Ken had to look at them all and he'll give his comments, too.
We've actually had two of the panelists look at every single proposal and given them a fairly careful review and you're about to hear what we think of them.
So we're going to go through the panelists one by one.
For the first nine they were looked at by Tom, the second nine by Ginny, the third nine by Ted.
I did the final group and then Ken, as I said, will look at them all.
Let's start with Tom's thoughts about the first set of nine proposals.
Tom.

>> Yes.
So I wanted to start first of all, all nine of these po poseals were really good.
Everybody was able to find and interesting area to go and look at.
It's a real cite -- credit to you guys.
Cavendish.
Some of the things you're looking in the ice are sediment layers where the ice has turned up rock and brought it up and appears as lines on the surface and if it might change your thinking about what to do that.
Artemis Ridge was the second one.
I felt I was going to do exploration of another planet.
One idea think about is how might life and geology be all connected together.
The third proposals was from John.
Looking at Lake Vida.
They were going to look at the connections not just between life in the lake but also looking at how runoff on the land flowed into the lake and I think you guys have a lot of really good ideas there to explore.
Fourth proposal was from Joe.
And I'm going to have to say Joe, I think you did some of the best speculation in the round.
This was the triangles that were locked in ice off of butter point.
I think, though, your mystery triangles are small icebergs stuck in fast ice but fantastic job of speculation.
Fifth proposal was from Kelbie looking at Macy Glacier.
This is one that Ken might want to comment on later but she was going to look at the underlying topography and the glacier itself and it gets to one of our most important questions about how the ice sheet is going to evolve.
Perhaps Ken want to comments on that a little more later on.
The sixth proposal was from Jenny looking at Don Juan Pond and develop a comprehensive picture of the pond.
How it worked, how water flowed into it.
How life might have formed.
I think this was a great idea for this proposal.
Don Juan Pond is such a unique feature I labeled yours as an honorable mention for the round.
The seventh proposal was from Matt.
He was going to look at the brudman mountains.
He wants to go through straight exploration.
I think you're on to a unique enough area that that's a valid thing to do.
You might want to think what are some of the most important science questions we can answer in that area based on what other people have done?
The eighth proposal was from ALANA and Rachel looking at Maria creek.
This was one of the best proposals in the round.
If I would pick one to fund as a program manager this is one that I would do.
I actually brought a rock for you guys to look at.
This is a rock from the dry valleys that's in the area.
The reason I bring it, you talked about wind in your proposal and how you might look at the relationship between wind, the glaciers and the sediment.
Some of the ways you might go at it.
Wind is the primary shaping agents in the dry valleys.
You might want to look at the core and look at the layers and think about what source rocks they came from.
The last proposal is from KY and Adam who I think had probably the best idea that I saw in the round.
They wanted the look at some of the icebergs that were trapped in fast ice around Antarctica to get a handle on climate change and I think this is a fabulous idea.
You know, we look how the ice moves from a bunch of different directions.
We measure how the ice moves and other ways but it's difficult for us to extrapolate over the long term and I think your idea going and taking a snapshot and looking at where the icebergs are today and then looking at air photos from the past and watching this in the future might tell us a lot about how fast ice moves in different parts of Antarctica and what the relationships might be to how ice -- sea ice forms around Antarctica.
Fantastic ideas, all of them were great proposal.
Mrs. Scearce you're doing a bang-up job with that class.

>> Thank you very much, Tom.
We appreciate all your energy and insight into the proposals that you reviewed.
Ginny, let's switch over to you and see what you thought about the proposals you reviewed.

>> I got to review the proposals numbered 10 through 18.
And so I can give you a little view of that.
These are the proposals that I looked at.
Number 10 was on Lake Hoare by lily and Emma from Mount Vernon middle school in Indiana.
And they were interested in understanding Lake Hoare and the conditions there.
They posed some really good questions which I thought was a good proposal.
The second one was from Charlie and Travis at Mount Vernon middle school.
They found a really interesting pond.
A place that's not been really explored in Antarctica.
Not many people heard of the pond.
It was interesting to think they could come up with a new place to discover and posed good questions about what they might do to understand the lake conditions a little bit better.
Then the number 12 proposal is hades terrace by Chris at Mount Vernon middle school.
He had a good idea to measure glacier speed over time to understand changes in global warming and what might cause crevasseing to happen.
There was a good theme to understand that glaciers are sensitive to climate and trying to understand how they might change and how you might understand the climate through that.
14 was Taylor glacier at Franklin regional middle school in Pennsylvania.
They had some really good ideas about what was happening in that area.
They thought a lot about what might have happened in the Taylor glacier area since the last ice age which I thought was interesting for them to think back that far and how the valley might look different back during the last ice age compared to today and they wanted to see if they could figure out how it had changed.
That was great.
Number 15 was also Taylor valley which by the same school Franklin regional middle school by Katie and others and they were pointing out some interesting things about what makes Taylor valley unique.
That it had the possibility of life thriving there.
They wanted to investigate that.
Number 16 was looking at the ice shelves in general by Mario, and others at wren middle school and articulated the importance of ice shelfs and what properties could be measured from space.
They did a good job of trying to ind stand what they could understand about ice shelf by looking at LIMA images and other images.
The next one was how volcanoes and ice interact.
How volcanoes cause crevasse changes.
Number 18 was a study on the rock ice shelf by April at wren middle school with good knowledge of the importance of ice shelves.
I was impressed by it and had a good idea to model it over time to understand the stability of ice sheets over time.
And so I picked two proposals out of this group to fund with my infinite amount of money.
The first one on funding is the dry valleys by Charlie and Travis at Mount Vernon middle school.
They wanted to understand this little known pond.
They thought they could study Don Juan Pond and try to compare the properties of that pond to their pond.
They wanted to know about the possibility of life there.
They wanted to know if it was completely frozen or if there was liquid water in different parts of the year and they wanted to know what might control the lake temperature.
They did some great research that's not necessarily all available from the LIMA image.
They looked on the Internet as well to understand Don Juan Pond but also understand the size of the lake and its location and they listened to suggestions from the last webcast which I was really impressed by.
You took in all the comments the scientists gave you and came up with a good plan to make observations using LIMA to determine if and when the lake was frozen.
Then you had this interesting idea to look at thermal infrared satellite data to understand the lake temperature.
I thought that was great.
You were really thinking outside the box.
The other thing that you said was that you would send an ROV underneath the ice to measure lake properties which is fun but very expensive to do that.
My only suggestion was to think about how you could maximize your usage of LIMA and maybe look for other lakes in the area that you could use for comparisons.
So the second one I wanted to fund is the Mount Ayr bus project.
He had the goal to understand the interaction between crevasses and volcanoes.
He was interested in how the volcanoes react how can we predict eruptions and he did a lot of background research on both and listened to some of the points that the scientists had in the last webcast and integrated those points into his proposal to make a better plan he wanted to take a ten kilometer radius in the volcano and measure them and then he suggested that he could monitor the mount for activity by looking at the amount of steaming coming out, the presence of sulfur and lava he might see using repeat images.
That's a great idea.
The only suggestion I had was maybe looking for some source of information online about any kind of seismic activity that you might have.
Then you could compare where your crevasses locate to where you have seismic activity and you could say something about cause and effect there.
Those are the two proposals I had.
Back to you.

>> Great, thanks, Ginny.
It was fun to see the pictures of students looking at LIMA imagery and we appreciate your thoughtful review of those proposals.
We'll move now to Ted.
What proposals did you review and what did you think about them?

>> I had the third group of nine from 19 to 27.
And I've made a mistake.
I didn't write down the names of the students that worked on these but hopefully the name and the topic will tell the student which one was his.
Number 19 was on Mount Ayr bus and it was interesting.
A number of the proposals I review were fascinated between the interaction between hot val Cain owes and ice and interesting to see how the two primary Earth materials would interact.
One thing I would like to suggest is that in Hawaii when volcanoes interact with the ocean they form these unique structures.
You might want to think about how lava interacting with an ice sheet might modify that formation of these rounded rapidly cooled blobs of magma as the lava hits the ice.
There were several proposals there.
Number 20 on the Ross Ice Shelf.
Of course, as Ginny pointed out ice shelves are really important.
They're a key part of the balance of the system between how ice flows off the continent and into the ocean and losing the ice shelves accelerates the glaciers that flow over Antarctica and can contribute to sea level rise.
I thought that was an interesting proposal.
The one I liked the most was number 2 is on Commonwealth glacier.
It's interesting to look at and the students picked up on that right away.
It has the area that flows out through a grap in the mountains and onto the valley floors and it spreads out like a mushroom or a big tear drop over that valley floor and it's eroded on one side, the upwind side and less eroded on the other side.
The students looked at this and noticed that the shape was unusual.
Wanted to study how the shape of the glacier came to be and I thought that was really interesting.
I think I liked that one just about the best because of its interest in fundamental glaciology and how ice moves and forms the shapes it does.
The next one was on mount wall green.
One of the things I thought was interesting.
A part they mentioned briefly.
It has a large area of blue ice next to it.
These blue ice areas can be a sensitive indicator of climate change.
If they're growing you can say that accumulation is dropping or the wind speed is increasing in Antarctica.
If they're shrinking and getting covered with snow you might say that the weather is getting more humid which in Antarctica humidity means more snowfall, not more rainfall.
Number 23 was on nim rod glacier that talked about looking for fossils in the rocks around the glacier.
Sure enough it turns out that part of Antarctica is really important in terms of fossils.
There have been some dinosaur fossils found in the area which me mentioned and also some fossils that show that even very recently Antarctica was a much warmer place, a place that had forests with broad leaf trees that had a seasonality to them.
So the nim rod glacier was interesting because it looked at paleontology and nim rod glacier looks great in the LIMA imagery because of the flow and the island of rock in the middle of it that the glacier flows around.
The next one I looked at was number 24.
The students were suspecting this might be a volcano because of the shape of the mountains.
I think it would be interesting to explore the area.
I doubt that it's a volcano but they had some interesting ideas for exploring how they might determine whether or not it's a volcano.
The next one number 25 was on swift glacier which is an interesting glacier in the Antarctica peninsula.
A lot of the ice is crumbling away they noticed some of the flow streaks on swift glacier from rock avalanches that have fallen on the glacier and carried downstream.
The last one I reviewed I might have skipped one.
The last one was the unique ripple features in the middle of Antarctica called MEGADYNS.
They were interested in the interplay between wind and they said the bedrock of Antarctica but the surface of the ice sheet has a strong interact with the wind and they were on to something there in terms of how the wind and the snow might interplay together to create these huge ripple shapes.
They had obviously done some reading about it because they knew some of the basic facts about them.
It was one of my favorite proposals and also the one on Commonwealth glacier number 21.

>> Super, thank you very much, Ted.
I want to make a comment that the Commonwealth glacier proposal was submitted by Caroline and Angela at wren middle school.
Ted, can you remind us what was the number on the proposal that was also a favorite?

>> I think it was 27 and it was by a fourth grade class.
I think the class did the proposal together and I was really impressed with that.

>> These were Mrs. Maynard's students at Ida elementary school.

>> Congratulations to them.

>> We're going to move over to Bob now at Goddard space flight center.
Which proposals did you review and what did you think?

>> Thanks, Rebecca.
I took the last set.
So I started with number 28 and it ran through number 39 and the way I've organized my quick review here is to jump to the one that just jumped out at me when I was reading all of these because I think it really was exceptional and showed so many of the characteristics that I look for when I review real proposals from real scientists for real money.
I think this class just did an exceptional job so I want to speak about that if I can.
And I have the whole proposal here on a slide.
Don't expect to be able to read all the print but it does illustrate who it's from.
And what it's about.
It is from Paula gardener's third and fourth grade science class.
I want to emphasize that.
I was just stunned by the ability of third and fourth graders to put together such a coherent proposal.
The subject is mount TAKAHI.
Which is a popular subject with these LIMA Quest challenges.
Volcanoes and ice is a very intriguing combination and this class has pursued that connection.
But some of the characteristics I really like about this proposal is that they had very clearly-stated hypotheses and very clearly-stated reasons why this research would be important.
They wanted to look at the mount.
They were concerned about the fact that being a volcano it could erupt and how would that interact with the ice sheet in terms of melting?
And how would that melting then affect the rest of the world through sea level rise?
They're right on target with the big issues of the day.
Sea level rise is what I study day in and day out.
And then also in their final paragraph they describe what they wanted to measure and how those measurements would help them answer those questions.
Which is exactly the kind of organized thinking and connection between what a proposeer wants to do and what they would do with that information and how they would address the hypotheses.
I think it was just fantastic, the fact that this class was able to articulate all of that in a fairly short proposal.
They also took the advice they received from the feedback that both Tom and I gave them and they clearly understood that feedback and worked with it and collected additional information to strengthen their proposal from what we saw initially.
So it just had all of the elements that we scientists use to rate proposals highly so I wanted to highlight that and as I said, that just jumped out at me when I looked at this set of proposals.

>> Another one that really attracted me was this one from Erika, 11 years old, sixth grade at the Taylor academy in Florida.
What I looked about this was it was pure exploration.
She saw feature that she didn't understand and she admitted she didn't know what it was but driven by curiosity to know what it is and she took that curiosity and looked all around this area to try to gather clues to help her understand what this feature may, in fact, be.
She noticed a volcano is nearby.
Is this feature associated with a volcanic event or something like that?
She noticed it was right beside the glacier, fast-moving ice.
What it related to the fast-moving glacier that was next to it?
Again, she admitted she didn't know.
She did a very good job of suggesting measurements that she would want to make if she was supported to actually go there and visit this site.
And I thought that was a beautiful example of just curiosity-driven science which is exactly how scientists do use imagery of Antarctica.
Another standout proposal.
I thought.
Then my set of proposals were -- included just a lot from Mrs. GARRIET's class at red school in Houston, Texas, a big salute to her because she has a fantastic science class and they divided themselves into groups and every one of these proposals from her class was good.
I think everybody in that class, I hope they're listening here should give a big salute to their teacher.
I think she's the real standout here to have led this classroom in this.
There was a variety of proposals from this class.
Six different ones looking at mount discovery as a volcano.
Three students put that together.
Some beautiful observations from the imagery and they collected some additional information off the web learning about mount discovery.
Some crevasses on the Ronnie ice shelf.
This is a new research group that we current scientists should be aware of.
The TIA research group to asking some very key questions about how the crevasses on this ice shelf may affect iceberg formation in the not too distant future and how these crevasses evolve recognizing we want to look at multiple images over time.
The moss and escarpment is what captured some other students' attention and they asked also some very interesting questions about why it's there.
Why is there a glacier on one side and the ice sheet on the other side and the evolution thinking how this may have come to be.
Another team looked at the crevasse patterns around deer's head crevasses, an area on the Ross Ice Shelf.
I don't have their names but keen observations of what they were looking at there as well as the surrounding vicinity helping them formulate some interesting hypotheses.
Then we go to some other budding geologists, Sam and Brandon talked about the Scott mountains.
I learned a lot by reading their proposal.
They dug into the literature about the Scott mountains.
They want to know more and I hope they grow up to take on careers of Antarctica geologists and learn more.
Roosevelt island, the final one that captured the imagination of other students.
And again a very nice proposal where they asked some very deep, probing questions.
I may get back to them because there are some scientific papers that deal with Roosevelt island that use many of the same questions as their starting point.
So they might be interested in what was actually learned there.
So -- two other -- one other comment I want to make.
Another proposal that just -- I have to mention is from the small nation of southeast Asia next to Indonesia and some students there, their teacher Simon, what I liked about this proposal.
They were just fascinated with iceberg and I underscored here in their proposal some statements that just stood out.
That they are a coastal nation and they are affected by sea level rise and they want to understand iceberg because of the connection between ice, ocean and their own nation.
In fact, they noted that iceberg B15 was five times the size of their own country.
So that -- how could that not capture their attention?
So I was pleased with their observation that icebergs are, in fact, extremely big and they wanted to learn more and I hope their inquisitiveness continues through the rest of their schooling.
Those are the comments I had on that final set.
And I think I could bounce it back to you, Rachel but I'm interested in hearing what Ken had to sai. he was the only one that looked at all of them.

>> Before we hear from Ken I did want to mention, Bob, that Mrs. Gary's class from red school in Houston is online with us today so I'm sure they are very excited to hear all your comments about their proposals and I appreciate you putting into perspective the size of the icebergs compared to the country of the last proposal that you reviewed.
Very interesting.
As you said, let's go ahead and move over to Ken and listen to what he has to say.
I want to let our audience know since Ken is joining us by phone we'll roll a video that will play on the screen as Ken talks and offers his feedback and comments.

>> Thanks.
And as was mentioned, I did read through all the proposals.
And as my colleagues mentioned I found every proposal had a good idea for an interesting observation.
Congratulations to you all on that.
What impressed me most was the range of topics that these students thought worthy of research.
It was amazing.
As a group you managed to touch on just about every major topic in Antarctica science and that's great.
For example, as people have mentioned earlier, there are several proposals concerning Antarctica geology.
Interesting topic from volcanoes into the Ross island area including mount discovery and mount ser bus.
Several po poseals made connection between geology and glais yol gee.
The dry valley lakes alone fascinated many of you.
I liked the ways you looked at the ways lakes help support life and others wondered how glaciers might erode mountains or -- several people thought about connections again between geology and biology in Antarctica through the curious existence of these hardy endolithic organisms.
A number of them focused on the icing blanket in Antarctica.
Some people thought about the physics of crevasse formation.
Some wondered about the relationships between the glacier ice and ocean speculating on how icebergs might be -- there were also a number of good ideas about the polar atmosphere and how the winds might shape the surface of the ice sheet as Ted mentioned and how they also then redistribute sands in the dry valleys.
I have to say my favorites were about the ice shelves.
I began my own research on the Ross Ice Shelf so I looked all of those in particular.
But there was one proposal about another ice shelf where one of our friends, Ted's and Bob's and my friends made measurements using dog sleds to traverse the ice shelf from end to end.
Imagine that.
People that we know began their careers with dogs and now we're studying the Antarctica from space.
Truly astonishing.
But some of your ideas even convenient toured beyond the coast and thought how the ice shelves might interact with the ocean and how climate change might affect Antarctica and how it might contribute to sea level rise.
All in all I think you did a good job.
As a group across the board you discovered the secret of why Antarctica science is so much fun.
You can find interesting and important topics in whichever science, discipline most interests you.
Whether it be geology or biology or glais yol gee or whatever.
Go to a scientist to tell you about stuff that is entirely new to you.
Congratulations.
I think you all did a good job.

>> Thank you very much, Ken.
We're going to transition now to the Q and A part of our webcast and as questions come in, we're going to have Bob from Goddard space flight center kind of assign those questions and have the scientists that are joining us today answer those as we go around.
So Linda, what questions do we have so far?

>> Okay.
I think our watchers and listeners have been fascinated because they haven't been typing a lot of questions.
Let's start with one we got from Joe in Iowa.
He asks could a crevasse open to become a ditch?

>> Well, I'll take the first question.
A crevasse opens quite slowly and in essence it is a ditch.
We think that in some cases the forces involved in a crevasse limit how deep it would go.
Typically they can go about 30 feet just because the ice at the bottom of that 30 feet is trying to close it up.
But if you fill it with water it actually can keep going all the way through.
We think that's responsible for some observations that have been made by satellites of disintegrating ice shelves where they seem to fall apart in a very short period of time.
But it's not the Hollywood view of crevasses opening up very suddenly and either closing to capture somebody or not.simply
That does not happen.
That's Hollywood's view of crevasses and it is not the real world.

>> Okay.
Great.
We have a question here from Caiden.
He says do you think any grown person with the right equipment could live in Antarctica?

>> Well, Ken is living there right now so I'll let him take that one.
I think he's grown up.

>> And the right equipment is key.
Basically trying to make living in Antarctica means paying attention to the weather all the time, the conditions, making sure that all of your equipment is working.
Making sure you have lots of food and ways to make water from the ice along with you.
In terms of surviving on your own in Antarctica, no, it's completely inhospitable unless you were to come here with greenhouses and an infinite supply of food you couldn't make it on your own.
It takes a big center.
There are three large bases in Antarctica which allow us to get things staged and put together so we can go out into the deep field and make measurements in places where people have never gone before to try to find out more about how Antarctica and the rest of the planet works.

>> Just a comment about the NSF arrangements there.
They've been kind enough to allow us to hook up today and so giving us the unique opportunity of being able to talk all the way down to Antarctica.
That's exciting.
And Tom was very instrumental in that, too.
Paula gardener's class appreciates the comments made about their proposal.
I'll go on to Caiden again.
He asks why are ROVs so expensive?

>> Well, let me give that one to Tom since he hands out money.
[Laughter]

>> I can be the catch-all person.
You guys do all the important ones.
The ROV question is a good one and they are really expensive for a couple of reasons.
If you're talking about something that goes in the water, the idea of having all those electronics that are separated from the water and don't short out but at the same time can guide this thing around without any contact to the surface, that's really, really difficult to do because it's hard for us to send signals through the sea water to the surface.
So it gets very, very expensive.
Then it gets even more expensive because you might think there are plenty of toys out there that you have that can go in the water and be driven and fly around but they don't carry a scientific instrument.
That probably weighs five times as much as the toy does plus it has all of its own requirement in terms of power and temperature and those kinds of things.
When you consider all those factors together, it makes using in any kind of remotely operated vehicle in the ocean still pretty expensive to use.
I went to a talk by someone from NASA saying that it's so expensive.
If you can do the mission with the person it's cheaper to do.
With Antarctica it's so expensive and difficult to work there that we are investigating using remotely operated vehicles in a couple of places.
Two key things, one is mapping from the air and there is a group called creases based at the University of Kansas which has -- is building an unmanned Ariel vehicle to fly around the map the ice sheet.
Another place we're talking about doing them is under the ice shelves.
If you look at a map and look at the Ross Ice Shelf this is many hundreds of feet thick and it extends back hundreds of miles about the size of France.
We would like to know what's going on underneath the ice shelves and an ROV is another way to do it.
Another way to do it is Bob's project that maybe he'll talk about later on.
Back to you, Rebecca.

>> One quick comment.
I know you had -- for those who haven't seen other webcasts introduce him to us.

>> Do you have a good picture?

>> You need to talk a little.
There we go.

>> How about that?
This lived a couple hundred million years ago in Antarctica.
One of the reasons I bring it around.
We think of Antarctica today and the ice there today started 40 million years ago but it has a deep time history.
One of the oldest continents of the Earth and used to be the center.
Antarctica was located kind of in the center.
The crossroads for animals to migrate around.
The way like kangaroos and possums and things.
The reason they're distributed around the whole world is because they walked through Antarctica.
You can think of this as the great grandmother of T-Rex.
This is 200 million years old.
For 135 million years there was a T-Rex size animal stomping around the Earth.
Compared to how long we've been around as human beings for less than a million years.
These are successful creatures for a long time.
It points out one of the importances of doing research in Antarctica.
Because it's so difficult, so little of it has been explored and we've only gone to a couple of places and found dine Sawyers.
When they found this one it completely rewrote that whole Clay of the T-Rex style dinosaurs, divided them from one to four.
Also you can see Elvis -- he gets nicknamed Elvis.
When the scientist who found him first gave a talk he noticed there was a crest on his head like Elvis's hair.
They don't know what the crest is for.
They think it's too small for fighting but maybe related to an expandable spine that maybe it could put up when it was looking for the mate.
There has been some other recent research that just came out and it might be used for generating or receiving sound.

>> He's always fun to hear about.
We have a couple more comments.
General-type questions.
I want to encourage classrooms if you've got a question, get it in now because we're wrapping up pretty soon.
But we have a question about how much new information do you find in Antarctica every month?

>> Oh, boy.
Well, I want to spread these questions around so I'm going to give that one to Ken, I think.

>> Okay.
I think I can answer that.
One way to look at it is just how many countries around the world are actually collecting data about Antarctica.
And as people have pointed out, there are many different groups, many different countries working on the ground in Antarctica but both Bob and I are involved in an activity to encourage all of the space nations of the world to use their satellites to focus on Antarctica and collect data.
You can imagine how much information that is.
There are many different satellites and they're collecting a tremendous amount of data, much more than would fill any of your personal computers in just a matter of seconds.
So the interest of many of the world's countries is really focused on Antarctica right now and using the incredible technical resources to get the data that we need to answer the kind of questions that were posed in your proposal.

>> Great, thank you.
Have any scientists been the mount KAHI to explore and if so, how does the temperature compare with the other parts of Antarctica?

>> Ginny, you haven't had a question yet.
Do you want to take that one?

>> I can take that one.
I haven't been there but I've been close to it and not many people have been there because it's in a fairly remote place in Antarctica.
But there have been some airborne surveys that have been flying over that area in the last couple of years and what they see are all the internal layers in the ice sheet and the base of the ice sheet with a device called radar and those internal layers are what you see on a road cut driving along and seeing where the side of the road has been cut through the rocks and you can see layers in the rock, you can see those with the radar in the ice sheet without actually cutting through the ice sheets.
That provides a lot of valuable information for us.
But around that mountain you can see bright layers.
Some of it might be do to ash that falls out onto the ice sheet when it was last active.
So that's picked up on the radar and they can see these bright layers and trace them over large distances and try to map out the fallout of all the ash throughout that whole region.
So in terms of temperature, I don't think currently it's any warmer on the surface of the ice sheet there, it's just as cold there as it is anywhere else.
But near the base of the ice sheet it may be a little bit warmer because of the volcanic activity that's happening there.
There is very little information known about the base of the ice sheet because we just don't have a lot of data right now to tell us about the base of the ice sheet.
It is many kilometers thick so it's kind of hard for us to see through all that us and understand the properties through that big layer of ice.
There is a lot of effort to try to improve under our understanding of the base load conditions in that area and all the places of Antarctica in general.

>> Okay.
I have a quick question for Bob.
I notice that Bob had his own -- congratulations.
What do you have to do to get one?

>> Is that a question from you, Linda?

>> No, no, no.
This is actually from a class in Iowa.

>> All right.
I just want to add one little addendum to what Ginny already said.
You said that question came from GARDNER.
I assume that's the teacher of that third and fourth grade science class.
I hope that when I'm 75 I'm going to read in the newspaper that some scientists from Waco, Texas, has gone there and done some new, exciting research.
I think it will still be available to those students.
I hope that's going to happen.
Getting things named for you in Antarctica.
There are over 14,000 different teacher's names?
Antarctica many acknowledging the contributions of a variety of scientists.
Each country has a process that you go through and so there are many, many U.S. scientists that Ken Jezek has a glacier named after them.
Ginny, you're young and you're so successful I have absolutely no doubt that you'll be honored equally.
It is an honor that colleagues suggest names of teachers be assigned to honor the scientific contributions.
Actually right now I serve on the committee that decides about those names and a good case has to be made and the case has to be based on contributions of an individual to Antarctica science.
There are many, many more features out there.
I expect that tradition of honoring scientific contributions this way will continue on into the future for generations to come.
Thanks for the question.

>> Terrific.
Okay.
I do have a last question that I think may have a different answer depending on which one of our scientists you ask so it might be a good signoff question.
That is, what is the most interesting thing in Antarctica?

>> I think everybody ought to take 15 seconds to answer that and I'll take the last so I have more time to think.
Let's start with Tom.

>> With who?

>> With Tom.

>> Let's go to -- if Tom isn't there we'll try him again when we go all the way around.
Ted.

>> Most interesting thing in Antarctica.
I think the large ice streams are the most interesting thing.
They are huge features, much bigger.
It's hard to understand just how big they are until you spent a couple of days trying to drive across one and not even get there after two days.
They flow very fast, they're very sensitive.
They've changed a lot.
That whole system of snowfall, huge glaciers flowing out to the sea forming these large ice shelves I think that's a really interesting system and really important one because it has a major control on sea level and the system is changing as climate changes around Antarctica.
So I would have to say that the large ice streams are probably the most interesting feature.

>> Okay.
Let's try Ken.

>> Well, I agree with Ted.
Ice streams are very interesting and the big icebergs that come off the ice shelves are interesting if for no other reason than that process of iceberg carving is the fastest way to change any coastline around the world so I always think that's an interesting thing.

>> I'll go to Ginny next.

>> Well, you know, I live in Texas and they say that everything is bigger in Texas but actually everything is bigger in Antarctica.
Its -- the scale of things there is enormous.
I got my start working on Alpine glaciers.
I had no idea how big something could be until I went there.
Kilometers deep in some places and the mountains are big and the icebergs are enormous and even the logistics is just a big operation.
Everything, all the trucks, everything there is really big so if I have to say one thing it's the size of everything there is just really fascinating.

>> Let's see if Tom is still connected or not.

>> Tom actually had to sign off so he's not with us any longer.

>> Let me give my answer.
I would answer it just the thing is how much we don't know about Antarctica and how much it matters to get the answers.
As Tom said, in deep time it was a crossroads of everything that happened on the planet.
So many mysteries are still left unanswered and I guess that view is popping into my head because we're talking to so many students out there that there will be so many interesting questions still unanswered when they've had their education and hopefully become excellent scientists.
It's an exciting place to work.
New discoveries being made frequently and there is no better place to do science on this planet than Antarctica.

>> We are at the end of the hour and will wrap up the webcast.
I want to thank our audience for participating in today's webcast and participating in the whole challenge.
We really enjoyed receiving your proposals.
They were interesting and very impressive.
We had a great bunch of proposals this time around.
And I do want to inform you that the proposals are all posted online so if you want to take a look at the proposals we've talked about today in more detail they're on the website for you to access.
We're archiving this access and go to the same LIMA challenge website and get the webcast from us.
And Tom, do you want to -- sorry, Bob, would you like to make a final comment before we sign off?

>> Well, I do.
I was hoping you were going to ask just because I have a whole round of thanks to give out to people.
And I'll start with you, Rebecca and Linda for the Quest Challenge team.
I think you've done a great job of organizing this.
It has been a very satisfying, gratifying experience for me to take LIMA, which I had hopes and dreams for LIMA and I wanted it to be used to bring Antarctica to people and make Antarctica more accessible and you have certainly helped facilitate and enable that so I feel very satisfied and very gratified that that has been so successful.
Then I also want to thank my colleagues on the panel.
I asked them quite out of the blue would they be willing to be part of this and not a single one of them said no or even had any quaums about participating and they've been fantastic.
Thanks to Ken, Tom, Ginny and Ted.
They've been superb.
I think I chose them well and they certainly did a fantastic job.
And then finally I want to thank all the students and the teachers.
You mentioned 3200 students were involved in this challenge in one way or another and I think that's a huge measure of great success and again I just want to restate what you already said that we kind of dangled the carrot initially that could proposals might find their way onto the website.
All of these proposals are good and they're all going to be on the website and I'll be seeing to that this afternoon, I think.
So again, thank you for everything and that thank you extends to everybody.

>> All right.
Thank you again, Bob and Ginny and Ken and Ted and Tom.
We enjoyed the audiences's participation and hope you will join us again for a future challenge.
Thank you.

 FirstGov  NASA

NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: May 2005