A probe was designed to investigate the moulins (melt water drainage channels on an ice cap) and ice-hydrology interaction in the Greenland Ice Cap. By using commercially available components, the strong and reliable system has been developed that has a high-definition video recording element, is lightweight, and has buoyancy that is easily adjustable for neutrality or to be slightly positive in the water, enabling different deployment scenarios.

The system is in a small (20×20×20-cm), watertight Lexan box that can follow the water into the ice, but then be retrieved by tether. The system is rated for a water depth of 100 meters. The purpose of this system is to gain understanding about the interaction between the ice and the melt water and how this interaction may be accelerating the melting of glaciers and, in general, an overall better understanding of global warming.

This work was done by Alberto Behar and Victor Zlotnicki of Caltech; Huan Wang of Stanford; Henrik Karlsson of the International Space University; Jonas Jonsson of Uppsala University; and Konrad Steffen and Russell Huff of the University of Colorado, Boulder, for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-45464

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 2009 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.