Bristol resident to participate in NASA’s Operation IceBridge

Mark Buesing /submitted photo

Mark Buesing /submitted photo

Bristol resident Mark Buesing, a science teacher at Libertyville High School, is traveling to Greenland in April, for two weeks to participate in NASA’s Operation IceBridge.

Operation IceBridge is a six-year mission to map polar ice in unprecedented detail to better understand processes that connect the polar regions with the global climate system. Operation IceBridge utilizes a highly specialized fleet of research aircraft and the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled to characterize annual changes in the sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of the earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting sea level rise. IceBridge also helps bridge the gap in polar observations between NASA’s ICESat satellite missions. Buesing applied to be part of the research team through PolarTREC, which pairs K-12 teachers with polar researchers. Their mission is education outreach and polar science education.

“PolarTREC and I share many of the same goals, chief among them is to get students interested in science, technology, math, and science (STEM) careers,” says Buesing. He was alerted to the program by a former student who is now an oceanographer with the US Antarctic Program. Buesing is one of only 15 teachers chosen from an applicant pool of about 300 to participate in polar projects around the globe.

This April, Buesing will join Operation IceBridge in Greenland. They operate out of the former US Airbase at Kangerlussuaq (Sondrestrom). Kangerlussuaq is also home to Greenland’s most diverse fauna, including muskox, caribou, and falcons. Buesing, who is also an avid runner said he plans on running every day, but added, “Wikipedia said that you should never pass above a muskox, as they take that a threat. I plan on keeping that in mind while out running,” he said with a smile.

Much of Buesing’s day will be spent in a P-3B Orion, flying over Greenland’s ice sheet and glaciers mapping the ice with laser altimeters, ice-penetrating radar, magnetometers, and gravimeters, to mention a few. The rest of his day is spent blogging, video journaling, updating social media sites, and connecting with his classroom. Buesing will also connect to his own children’s elementary school.

“If any teachers want to participate, they should contact me. I hope to make this experience valuable to as many students as possible.”

PolarTREC is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and funded by the National Science Foundation. For more information and to participate, see the PolarTREC website at: or contact the ARCUS Project Managers, Janet Warburton at, or Sarah Crowley at, or call 907-474- 1600. The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) is based in Fairbanks, Alaska and was formed in 1988 to provide leadership in advancing knowledge and understanding of the Arctic. ARCUS is a member consortium of educational and scientific institutions.

Further information is available at:


One Comment

  1. A. Woodward says:

    What an amazing opportunity! I’m looking forward to reading more about this experience. Congratulations!

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