Earth Science: August 2013 Archives

Science.gov Trivia Question of the Day: August 20, 2013

Question: According to NASA, what is the largest living organism visible from Earth orbit? Answer: Australia's Great Barrier Reef

"The Great Barrier Reef extends for 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) along the northeastern coast of Australia. It is not a single reef, but a vast maze of reefs, passages and coral cays (islands that are part of the reef). The white calcium carbonate that coats the living coral reflects light, making the water above the reef appear bright blue from space. This phenomenon allows the reef to be the largest living organism visible in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite photos and videos ..."

Keith's note: Wrong. Coral reefs are collections of lots of organisms of many different species - not a single organism. "The largest living organism visible from Earth orbit" is most likely Pando - although larger examples may be awaiting discovery.

Pando (tree), Wikipedia

"Pando (Latin for "I spread"), also known as The Trembling Giant, is a clonal colony of a single male quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) determined to be a single living organism by identical genetic markers and one massive underground root system. The plant is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000,000 kg (6,600 short tons), making it the heaviest known organism. The root system of Pando, at an estimated 80,000 years old, is among the oldest known living organisms."

NASA to Debut Water Falls Movie this Fall [Watch Trailer], SpaceRef

"This fall coming to select theatres, is a movie about water, one that NASA thinks will change how you view our watery world. Water Falls, A Science on a Sphere Film is a different type of movie.

According to NASA, the movie is designed for playback specifically on spherical screens and "the project immediately demanded an abstract, poetic presentation of its subject."

Marc's note: Goddard has set up an excellent web site to complement the movie with educational resources for teachers.

Has CubeSats Time Come?

Can CubeSats do quality science? For one group, yes NewSpace Journal

"While interest in CubeSats--spacecraft as small as ten centimeters on a side and weighing one kilogram--has grown in recent years, one challenge facing the community of CubeSat developers is whether such spacecraft can perform useful missions, beyond education (many satellites are built by student groups) and technology development and demonstration. For one group at the University of Colorado, it appears that CubeSats can carry out research worthy of publication in scientific journals."

NRC Warns Landsat-Type Data Not Sustainable Under Current Practices, Space Policy Online

"The National Research Council (NRC) today issued its much-anticipated report on how to ensure continuity of Landsat-type land imaging data. The bottom line is that a sustained program is not viable under current mission development and management practices. Instead, the NRC calls for a "systematic and deliberate program" instead of the "historical pattern of chaotic programmatic support and ad hoc design and implementation of spacecraft and sensors" that has characterized the Landsat program to date.

... In short, the report calls for a "systematic and deliberate program with the goal of continuing to collect vital data within lower, well-defined, manageable budgets" to "replace the historical pattern of chaotic programmatic support and ad hoc design and implementation of spacecraft and sensors in the Landsat series.""


Loading

 



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Earth Science category from August 2013.

Earth Science: July 2013 is the previous archive.

Earth Science: September 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.