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Most detailed map of Antarctica's surface in over 10 years released

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Antarctica Bedmap2 (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)
Antarctica Bedmap2 (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

The ends of the Earth are getting their close-up. NASA today released a new, updated map of the topography — that is, the surface structure — of Antarctica. The new topographical map of Earth's southernmost continent is based on an older map from 10 years ago called Bedmap. But the new version, Bedmap2, contains literally millions more details about the frozen landscape than its predecessor, as NASA showed off today on its website, with slider graphics comparing the two. Bedmap2 was created from data collected by multiple sources over the course of several years, including NASA's Operation IceBridge, a specially outfitted observation plane that the agency flies over cold, hard-to-reach regions. The entire project was led by the British Antarctic Survey, and will be shared openly with researchers around the world to help improve computer projections of the changing climate's impact on ice flow.