Icefin is designed to test technologies for exploring Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. But before its successors go into space, Icefin has a serious job on Earth. By collecting data in Antarctica’s subglacial environment, researchers like Georgia Tech astrobiologist Britney Schmidt hope they can better understand how climate change is affecting Antarctica’s vulnerable glaciers. Caitlin and Arlo meet with Britney and her team of young scientists and engineers at the 8-mile-long Erebus Glacier Tongue to discover how this robot might just help save the world before its “grandkids” leave our planet. Then, Britney, her team, and Icefin head to the Florida-sized Thwaites glacier on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Thwaites is one of the most remote places on Earth, but it’s the front line of climate change (in fact, it’s nicknamed “the Doomsday Glacier”). The thinning and melting of Thwaites’ ice contributes to about 4 percent of global sea level rise, and scientists fear the glacier may collapse within a few decades or centuries. Now, with the help of Icefin, scientists hope to better understand why Thwaites is melting so quickly today—and whether the glacier is at risk of accelerated melting in the near future.
What is it Like to Live in Antarctica?
Episode 4: Antarctica is cold, windy, isolated, barren, and often downright dangerous. Yet somehow, people manage to live there. (Some even enjoy it!)
Where Does the Poop in Antarctica Go?
Episode 6: What happens to all the garbage—and human poop—in Antarctica?