Sept 22, 08
No, these ducks won’t be going into space, but they are working for NASA nevertheless. The organization best known for its efforts in space exploration has turned its sights to examining climate change science. To that end, NASA scientists are scrutinizing the movement of the Jakobshavn Glacier in Baffin Bay, Greenland. Glaciers shed ice into the sea and the increased rate of shedding has an impact on rising sea levels. This particular glacier is responsible for moving as much as 7% of Greenland’s ice into the ocean.
So where do rubber ducks enter the picture? NASA scientists have dropped 90 ducks into holes in the glacier. The scientists are hoping that the ducks will help shed some light on the process by which glaciers move. It is thought that water on top of the glacier melts into pools which then form tunnels down through the glacier. The tunnels then provide a route for more meltwater to collect underneath the glacier. This water could be responsible for “greasing the way” for glaciers to slide more quickly off land into the sea. Scientists hope the ducks will help them understand how water moves through the glacier. The rubber ducks are marked with “science experiment” and “reward” in three languages, as well as an email address. Scientists expect the rubber ducks to end up in Baffin Bay. So far, no rubber ducks have been recovered.
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