More than a thousand high-resolution images of Arctic sea ice that were originally gathered for intelligence programs have now been declassified and made available to the public. During the Cold War, the U.S. spent hundreds of billions of dollars to launch dozens of reconnaissance satellites that took millions of photos of Earth. As described in a 1998 Scientific American article, a group of scientists, known as Medea, was granted high-level access to pore over these images in the 1990s and offer guidance on how they could be used by the scientific community. Last week, the National Academy of Sciences recommended the release of classified arctic images to give scientists a view of melting processes that are just a few meters in scale. Within hours, the Interior Department made the images available online at