Traveling in the polar regions can be quite challenging. The locations are remote, and the weather is extreme. Careful planning is required to have a successful trip!
Each year, scientists plan expeditions to the Earth's cryosphere to conduct experiments and set up field sites. They use environmental data collected over many years to know what to expect, and models predict what kind of terrain and conditions they will likely face. It is important for them to be able to look back at past conditions, predict future conditions, and anticipate possible hazards or dangerous scenarios. Weather, terrain, route, food, and supplies all need to be considered.
On top of that, conditions in the cryosphere are changing. The area covered by Arctic sea ice is shrinking, glaciers are melting, and melt ponds can develop on the ice sheets in the summer months.
- When should your explorers leave?
- What kind of transportation will they take?
- What hazards will they face along the way?
- What supplies will they pack?
- What will the terrain look like (Sea ice? Glaciers?)
How can you present NASA data to help the explorers plan their trip? What data could the explorers use during their trip to avoid hazards that come up?
How would the quest be different if it occurred 10 years ago? 30 years ago? 100 years ago? What has changed in the environment?