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For more visuals, visit the ICESat-2 SVS gallery.

Pho Movie Trailer

In Photon Jump, a 3-minute short animation, a brave photon of light named Pho must travel from a NASA spacecraft down to Earth and back again to help complete a crucial science mission. The animation was created by the ICESat-2/SCAD Collaborative Student Project involving students and faculty from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Video Credit: 

NASA/GSFC

Assembling ICESat-2's ATLAS

Engineers are building and testing the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) for the ICESat-2 mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Laser Focus: The Transmitter

Opto-Mechanical Engineer Tyler Evans illustrates how the laser is transmitted from the ATLAS instrument on the ICESat-2 spacecraft.

Video Credit: 

NASA/GSFC

ICESat-2’s Telescope

Engineers and technicians check the fit of ICESat-2’s telescope to its sling, before moving it into place on the instrument’s optical bench.

Orbiting ICESat-2

In this artist's concept of ICESat-2, the satellite's laser beams are visible as it orbits.

Photon Jump

Pho, a plucky bright green photon of light, must travel from a NASA spacecraft down to Earth and back again to help complete a crucial science mission in this educational short film. 

ICESat-2's 'Box Structure'

An engineer checks ICESat-2's box structure, shortly after its arrival in a NASA clean room in May. Over the next two years, engineers and technicians will attach electronics, optics, lasers, a telescope and more to the box, testing its function at each step.

ICESat-2 measures the Ice Shelf

ICESat-2's instrument will take measurements every 2.5 feet along its ground path - mapping dips and drop-offs in the ice. This illustration is an outcome of the ICESat-2/SCAD Collaborative Student Project.

ICESat-2 Measures Slope

The ATLAS lidar on ICESat-2 uses 6 laser beams to measure the earth’s elevation and elevation change. This animation shows the beam tracks on Earth as the satellite passes overhead.

Video Credit: 
NASA/GSFC

ICESat-2's beryllium telescope during assembly

An engineer attaches components to ICESat-2's beryllium telescope, before it is attached to the satellite's ATLAS instrument.

The ATLAS box structure on a shaker

The ATLAS box structure, with weights attached to simulate different components, is attached to a vibration table at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where it will be tested to see if it can withstand the jolts associated with a rocket launch.

Pre-Flight Checkups for ICESat-2

To develop the computer programs that will crunch the raw data gathered by ICESat-2, the mission flew a series of campaigns with the MABEL instrument, which gathers similar information.

Bevy of biomes

Beyond icy areas, ICESat-2 will measure other ecosystems including forests, rain forests, deserts and urban areas. This poster is an outcome of the ICESat-2/SCAD Collaborative Student Project.

ICESat-2, illustrated

ICESat-2 will use six laser beams to measure the height of ice, as illustrated in this not-to-scale artist's rendering. This illustration is an outcome of the ICESat-2/SCAD Collaborative Student Project.

ICESat-2 deployment and laser pulses

The Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, or ICESat-2, is a laser altimeter that will measure the heights of Earth’s surfaces. This animation shows deployment of ICESat-2's solar panels, door, and laser pulses.

Video Credit: 

NASA/GSFC

ICESat-2 Beam Pairs

The ATLAS lidar on ICESat-2 uses 6 laser beams to measure the earth’s elevation and elevation change. By arranging the beams in three pairs of two, scientists can also determine the slope between the two beams, a key component of determining elevation change along the Reference Ground Track.

Video Credit: 

NASA/GSFC

ATLAS box structure

The box structure of the ATLAS instrument takes shape in the cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as engineers carefully connect and attach different electrical components and fiber optics.

ATLAS's beryllium telescope

ATLAS captures returning photons in this 2.6-foot, 46-pound telescope.

Measuring the Ice

ICESat-2 will measure the height of ice and its features, such as this glacial melt pond photographed July 16, 2014, over Alaska.

Laser Focus: The Receiver

Opto-Mechanical Engineer Tyler Evans explains how the photons that bounce back from Earth are received and filtered by the ATLAS telescope.

Video Credit: 

NASA/GSFC

ATLAS box structure checkout

Engineers check on the box structure section of the ATLAS instrument, with the optical bench — with telescope attached — in the foreground. ATLAS is the sole instrument on the ICESat-2 satellite, and will measure the height of Earth.