RAMP is demonstrating the technical capability to acquire nearly instantaneous high-resolution microwave imagery of the entire Antarctic Continent. The technical achievement was followed by a scientific examination that is revealed the glaciology and geology of Antarctica in unexpected detail. As importantly, the acquisitions provide an important benchmark for gauging and understanding future changes in the Antarctic.
As this new century begins to unfold, it is interesting to reflect on the fact that we now possess the ability to regularly observe the entirety of our world with unprecedented detail and across a wide portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The RADARSAT program, building on a scientific, engineering and political heritage going back to the early days of the Corona missions, demonstrated the ability and the international commitment necessary to achieve such a goal. In turn, that ability levies a responsibility on the science community to forcefully argue for regular acquisition of such information in a fashion that is accessible and understandable to anyone interested in the results and pondering their implications.
So is this the end of our looks at Antarctica? We hope not!