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Bend man embarking on Arctic mission


A Bend man is one of six members of an international team embarking on a mission to help NASA track changes in the ice sheet inside the Arctic Circle.

Darren Hill is a member of the team the leaves next Wednesday for the Arctic Circle to test data on the ice sheets of Greenland. The team will be out for a few months each each year for the next three to ten years.

“We are one of eight missions approved by NASA this year, and we are the key element to finding out what’s going on with our global climate change,” Hill said Friday evening.

It’s taken six months to prepare to be out in subzero temperatures. Hill says he’s enjoyed being in extreme cold weather, but this will definitely be a challenge,

“It’s negative 50 degrees as an average temp. And then, with wind chill factor, we’re at a negative 110. So you can get frostbite in less than a minute.”

The team is composed of four members are from the U.S, one from Denmark and one from Germany, and each member has a combination of roles. Hill has three.

“I’m the snowmobile mechanic, so if anything breaks down, I have to keep everything running,” he said. “I’m also a field technician, so I’ll be helping them with data collection and troubleshooting the computers. I’m also the photographer/videographer as well.”

Hill said he is looking forward to being part of work that will be for the global community,

“There’s a lot of disbelief in global climate change and global warming. There’s mis-education, is what I like to call it. So I think this will bring to light real data, and bring the community to realize that is not something that is comfortable or that is unrealistic. It’s a real problem that we have.”

Hill will post live pictures and video from the ice on this site:

The team is expected to be back in the beginning of June.

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