Biosphere 2 Mission:
"To serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe.
- Catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about Earth and its future;
- Be an adaptive tool for Earth education and outreach to industry, government, and the public;
- Distill issues related to Earth systems planning and management for use by policymakers, students and the public."
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ESA's ice mission CryoSat-2
"The question of whether global climate change is causing the polar ice caps to shrink is one of the most hotly debated environmental issues we currently face. By monitoring precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice, CryoSat-2 aims to answer this question.
The go-ahead to build and launch the CryoSat-2 mission came in February 2006 after the loss of the first CryoSat in October 2005 due to a launch failure. The mission's objectives remain the same as before – to measure ice thickness on both land and sea very precisely to provide conclusive proof as to whether there a trend towards diminishing polar ice cover, furthering our understanding of the relationship between ice and global climate. CryoSat-2 is due for launch in 2009.
From an altitude of just over
700 km and reaching latitudes of 88°, CryoSat-2 will monitor precise changes in the thickness of the polar ice sheets and floating sea ice. The observations made over the three-year lifetime of the mission will provide conclusive evidence of rates at which ice cover may be diminishing.
To meet the challenges of measuring ice, CryoSat-2 will carry a sophisticated radar altimeter called SIRAL (Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometric Radar Altimeter). It is based on heritage from existing instruments, but with several major enhancements designed to overcome the difficulties intrinsic to the precise measurement of ice surfaces."
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The Science of Sleep Part 2--60 Minutes
"Scientists are discovering that sleep is far more critical to human health than previously believed and have linked sleep deprivation to serious problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Lesley Stahl reports."
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