Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:31, 3:31 and 5:49 a.m.

Lucky Ducky

Scientists track shrinking glaciers and global warming with... rubber ducks.

E-mail from a duck? Could happen.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

and on a science experiment most fowl.

Anyway-- The Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland has been shrinking by 300 cubic kilometers a year.

Meltwater flows into tubular holes in the glacier's surface, called moulins, then runs beneath the glacier to the sea.

To track the meltdown, Alberto Behar and his colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory devised the Moulin Explorer.

It's a small probe equipped with GPS and sensors to measure temperature, pressure, and speed. The scientists dropped it into a moulin, hoping to track its journey to the ocean.

But they lost contact.

Behar's Plan B? DUCKS

He launched ninety toy rubber ducks down the moulin, each printed with an e-mail address and the word "reward" in English, Danish, and Inuit.

He hopes the flotilla will zip under the glacier, surface, and be found by fishermen, providing data about meltwater flow.

So far, the ducks have been mum, but Beehar hopes for an e-mail by summer.

So keep your eyes peeled for a lucky ducky on the beach. Or in your tub. Remember: NASA's waiting.