postcards from Malagrotta.
Next Sunday follow us Ottobiano.
postcards from Malagrotta.
Next Sunday follow us Ottobiano.
Antonio Cairoli: “Abbiamo vissuto un ottimo fine settimana qui in casa, con il primo tempo nelle prove cronometrate questa mattina e la vittoria della prima manche. Ero partito in testa nella seconda, quando una scivolata ha reso la mia gara un po’ più complicata ma va bene cosi, anche perché avere un po’ di duelli e di sorpassi qualche volta è bello e cosi da quinto sono tornato primo. Le mie condizioni fisiche sono buone, la pista era molto tecnica e impegnativa e per questo sono molto soddisfatto del fine settimana, dell’organizzazione e della gara. C’erano tantissimi tifosi di queste parti oggi e ne sono felice perché ormai, dopo più di dieci anni, la sento come la mia città. Penso che sia molto importante essere tornato a sentirmi a mio agio con la mia guida, gli infortuni sono alle spalle e mi sento come qualche anno fa, cosa che mi permette di lavorare meglio e di percepirne la differenza. Ora concentriamoci sulla prossima gara ad Ottobiano tra sette giorni.”
The microscopic size of phytoplankton, the plant-like organisms that live in the sunlit upper ocean, belies their importance in the global environment. They provide the food source for the zooplankton that ultimately feed larger animals ranging from small fish to whales. And like plants on land, phytoplankton use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow and thrive through photosynthesis, which ultimately releases oxygen into the ocean and atmosphere.
Phytoplankton also play a large role in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere: A recent study found that phytoplankton take in about 24 percent of this greenhouse gas. When they die and sink to great depths in the ocean, phytoplankton also move carbon dioxide out of contact with atmosphere. Among the most pressing questions scientists are investigating is how much of that carbon is being stored in the ocean over the long term. Another question is how rising carbon dioxide levels and associated changes in the ocean environment are affecting phytoplankton communities.
To tackle those questions, on Jan. 26 scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, along with researchers from across the country embarked on 27-day seaborne campaign from Hawaii to Portland, Oregon, to categorize and observe phytoplankton populations and their environment. The team is working aboard the R/V Falkor, a research vessel owned and operated by the non-profit Schmidt Ocean Institute, which grants scientists use of the ship to advance oceanographic research.
Where carbon dioxide, once taken up, ends up in the global carbon cycle depends on the species of phytoplankton, said Goddard/USRA oceanographer Ivona Cetinic, the campaign’s chief scientist. “Their size as well as their shape and color determine the role that they play,” she said. “By knowing who’s there, you can predict what’s going to happen to that carbon.”
For instance, the interactions between smaller phytoplankton and the organisms that eat them are mostly confined to the ocean’s surface layer. The carbon they take up remains at the surface or eventually escapes back into the atmosphere. But organisms that eat larger types of phytoplankton, along with their waste, are more likely to sink deeper into the ocean. Uneaten, dead phytoplankton may also sink as they decompose.
“When phytoplankton pass below the surface layer and reach the deepest portions of the ocean, they sink out,” Cetinic said. “That’s key, because the carbon they have sequestered is removed from contact with the atmosphere.”
Physical processes also play a role in phytoplankton diversity and carbon transport. A complex interplay of different water masses, often visible in ocean color imagery, allow for the formation of pockets of highly specific ecosystems. Furthermore, processes such as subduction, or mixing, present another pathway for carbon deposition into the deep ocean.
Ocean color is also an important indicator of phytoplankton health and activity, and so from above the water an instrument is collecting hyperspectral measurements (ocean reflectance greater than 100 colors), from the ultraviolet to the shortwave infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. The data collected will inform NASA’s current and planned ocean color satellite instruments, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission scheduled for launch in 2022.
Fourteen researchers are deploying a range of instruments to track phytoplankton communities as the R/V Falkor traverses the northern Pacific Ocean. They are continuously measuring phytoplankton diversity through either microscopic imagery, pigments analysis or analysis of their genomic material. For the first time, they are testing new NASA-funded technology that will allow them to collect measurements of particle size.
Similar measurements will be taken from deeper portions of the ocean using an apparatus called a rosette, which comprises a cluster of bottles that captures water at different depths and instruments to measure salinity, temperature, and oxygen. Such physical measurements give clues about environmental conditions that support specific phytoplankton types. These types will be additionally recognized using images collected by a holographic camera, which will then be reconstructed in virtual reality space.
An autonomous platform called a wirewalker will help to assess the physical environment as well as the flux of particles into the deep ocean. The wirewalker allows for a package of instruments to travel along a wire to as far down as 100 meters measuring temperature, salinity, oxygen, as well as phytoplankton biomarkers such as chlorophyll. An autonomous float will hover at the 100-meter depth and collect settling particles as they sink from the upper ocean.
Ocean color satellites afford a global view of phytoplankton, but PACE will be the agency’s first hyperspectral (high spectral resolution) satellite and an improvement over its predecessors in that it will be able to distinguish between different kinds. All of the research on this seaborne campaign will enable improved satellite data product validation and development of unprecedented data products.
PACE project scientist Jeremy Werdell, who is co-investigator on the proposal for ship time on the R/V Falkor, said, “The goal of the cruise is to collect data that will help us better understand the imagery collected by ocean color satellites. Studying ocean color can tell us a lot about the ocean.”
NASA uses the vantage point of space, air, land and sea to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.
The first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years takes place on Aug. 21, 2017. Beyond providing a brilliant sight in the daytime sky, total solar eclipses provide a rare chance for scientists to collect data only available during eclipses. NASA is funding 11 scientific studies that will take advantage of this opportunity.
“When the moon blocks out the sun during a total eclipse, those regions of Earth that are in the direct path of totality become dark as night for almost three minutes,” said Steve Clarke, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This will be one of the best-observed eclipses to date, and we plan to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn as much as we can about the sun and its effects on Earth.”
The August 2017 total solar eclipse will provide a unique opportunity to study Earth, the sun, and their interaction because of the eclipse’s long path over land. The path of the total eclipse crosses the U.S. from coast to coast, so scientists will be able to take ground-based observations over a period of more than an hour to complement the wealth of data provided by NASA satellites.
The 11 NASA-funded studies cross a range of disciplines, using the total solar eclipse to observe our sun and Earth, test new instruments, and even leverage the skills of citizen scientists to expand our understanding of the sun-Earth system. The studies are listed below, followed by the name of the principal investigator and their home institution.
Studying the sun
During a total solar eclipse, the moon blocks out the sun’s overwhelmingly bright face, revealing the relatively faint solar atmosphere, called the corona. Scientists can also use an instrument called a coronagraph – which uses a disk to block out the light of the sun – to create an artificial eclipse. However, a phenomenon called diffraction blurs the light near the disk in a coronagraph, making it difficult to get clear pictures of the inner parts of the corona, so total solar eclipses remain the only opportunity to study these regions in clear detail in visible light. In many ways, these inner regions of the corona are the missing link in understanding the sources of space weather – so total solar eclipses are truly invaluable in our quest to understand the sun-Earth connection.
The sun-focused studies are:
Exploring the Physics of the Coronal Plasma through Imaging Spectroscopy during the 21 August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (Shadia Habbal, University of Hawaii)
Testing a Polarization Sensor for Measuring Temperature and Flow Speed in the Solar Corona during the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 August 21 (Nat Gopalswamy, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Chasing the 2017 Eclipse: Interdisciplinary Airborne Science from NASA’s WB-57 (Amir Caspi, Southwest Research Institute)
Measuring the Infrared Solar Corona During the 2017 Eclipse (Paul Bryans, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
Citizen Science Approach to Measuring the Polarization of Solar Corona During Eclipse 2017 (Padma Yanamandra-Fisher, Space Science Institute)
Rosetta-stone experiments at infrared and visible wavelengths during the August 21 2017 Eclipse (Philip Judge, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
Total solar eclipses are also an opportunity to study Earth under uncommon conditions. The sudden blocking of the sun during an eclipse reduces the light and temperature on the ground, and these quick-changing conditions can affect weather, vegetation and animal behavior.
The Earth-focused studies are:
Solar eclipse-induced changes in the ionosphere over the continental US (Philip Erickson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Quantifying the contributions of ionization sources on the formation of the D-region ionosphere during the 2017 solar eclipse (Robert Marshall, University of Colorado Boulder)
Empirically-Guided Solar Eclipse Modeling Study (Gregory Earle, Virginia Tech)
Using the 2017 Eclipse viewed by DSCOVR/EPIC & NISTAR from above and spectral radiance and broadband irradiance instruments from below to perform a 3-D radiative transfer closure experiment (Yiting Wen, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Land and Atmospheric Responses to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse (Bohumil Svoma, University of Missouri)
HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield] who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
AWARDS & REVIEWS
Following last week’s photo shoot, HRC brings you behind-the-scenes footage from the official factory launch and pre-season test in Sardinia where HRC introduced the new MXGP and MX2 team for 2017.
Tim Gajser, Honda CRF450RW, #243
Evgeny Bobryshev, Honda CRF450RW, #777
Michele Cervellin, Honda CRF250RW, #747
Chihiro Notsuka, Honda CRF250RW, #28