Rubber ducky you're the one...
Rubber ducky you're the one...Courtesy Mark Ryan
Boy, times must be getting tough if NASA’s latest endeavor is any indication. Researchers from the space agency recently dropped a whole slew of rubber ducks into openings in Greenland's Jakobshaven Glacier in hopes of understanding how and where melt waters from the ice sheet ends up in Baffin Bay. They’re also trying to understand why glaciers increase their speed during the summer months. The Jakobshaven Glacier, which is suspected of calving the iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912, is Greenland’s fastest moving glacier. The current thinking is that melt water forming on top of the ice flow during the summer months travels down narrow tubes called moulins to the glaciers base where it acts as a lubricant thus speeding up the ice sheet's movement. This isn’t exactly rocket science, is it? Anyway, each little ducky carries a label with the words "science experiment" and "reward" printed on it in three languages, along with an email address. The researchers hope that those who come across the toy quackers will contact them with information about when and where they found them. So far no one has gotten back to NASA but agency officials are confidant when they do it will add to our understanding of glaciers and their role in rising sea levels. So why has NASA has resorted to using such a low-tech approach? One source claims it's because a previous test using a metallic probe failed to return any data. Another source claims the probe is being used in conjunction with the rubber bath toys. Whatever the case it looks duck hunting season has opened.


CNN story
NetworkWorld story
Discovery Channel story
Animation about Jakobshaven Glacier

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Ahus1102's picture
Ahus1102 says:

What is the diffrence between the Science National foundation and the NASA?

posted on Sat, 10/18/2008 - 8:41pm
tis-chick-s0-fly's picture
tis-chick-s0-fly says:

What does it have to do with rubber ducks?? Why do people hunt for duck? That is sad to kill a duck...

posted on Sun, 10/26/2008 - 1:33pm

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