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High res satellite images used in critical phase of polar expedition

After more than 85 days expedition in the Arctic, the two polar explorers Børge Ousland and Mike Horn have not been able to reach Svalbard as planned due to the constantly changing ice conditions. High resolution satellite images from KSAT are now being used to try to find a way around dangerous leads in the ice that separates the polar explorers from their “rescuers”.

Image: The latest satellite image from Thursday afternoon shows the ice conditions in detail, marked with the estimated positions of the two teams. Thursday evening KSAT expert analysts together with expedition leader, Lars Ebbesen, are trying to find a safe way around the leads in the ice that currently separates them (in green).

(Copyright: RADARSAT-2 Data and Products © MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd, 2019. - All Rights Reserved. RADARSAT is an official mark of the Canadian Space Agency. Processed and analysed by KSAT)

After the ship “Lance”, that was supposed to bring the polar explorers out of the ice and safely to Longyearbyen, got stuck in the ice - two other Norwegian polar explorers Aleksander Gamme and Bengt Rotmo, left the ship Tuesday trying to reach Ousland and Horn on skis, bringing food and supplies.

But getting four people to meet in complete darkness close to the North Pole on ever shifting ice, is not easy. The two teams are currently kilometres apart, separated by leads in the ice. Expert analysts at KSAT, together with expedition leader Lars Ebbesen, have been studying the latest high resolution satellite images from the area to try to find a way around.

Both Ousland and Horn are highly experienced polar explorers, but the situation has taken a more dramatic turn with the sudden movements of the ice.

KSAT will continue to collect satellite images from the area to support the expedition in its most critical phase.

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