Cold regions present land, coastal and oceanic geographies to observers. While this paper focuses on polar regions, it must still consider the coastal and oceanic constituents that exist there. However, polar environments augment these similar geographies with some remarkable environmental conditions that provide unusual challenges to observers. This fact produces a need for special tools whether observations are made by men on the ice or they are made remotely from aircraft or satellite platforms. This paper considers the special needs and requirements of cold regions users and discusses how space based remote sensing has the potential to uniquely serve these needs. Some of the historic remote sensing programs and sensors that have contributed to polar observations are reviewed and the promise of future missions is evaluated with an eye toward accomplishments that hold the promise of significant commercial and related societal benefits in the coming decades.