Evening of August 9th
North of the Bering Strait, North of the Arctic Circle
Air temp 49F, sea depth 35 m , surface water temp 52F
The Globe Comes Alive with a Real World View on the USCGC Healy
This morning was very exciting moment for me to share with students. We crossed through the Bering Strait coming right next to the International Date Line and then crossed over the Arctic Circle. In the classroom we often look at these features on a globe. For me to see what my students and I have only seen on a globe or map for so many years in front of us on a clear sunrise morning was awesome! Looking at the panoramic picture below was my best attempt to share the Bering Strait with all of you.
The Bering Strait
Picture below, the Bering Strait at sunrise facing northeast to the rising sun.
In this picture we are passing through the Bering Strait and this is a 180 degrees panoramic picture from the port side of the ship. The Cape Prince of Wales is the westernmost point on the mainland of the United States and the continent of North America. Cape Dezhnev, Russia is the easternmost mainland point of Russia and the continent of Asia. Only 51 miles (82 km) separate these two points. This close proximity, shallow sea depths, and historical findings of the native settlements in the area have led historians to believe this was the entry point to the America’s first human inhabitants. This shallow sea only average in the 30s to 50s meters in depth and is also one of the reasons for the rich sea life in the area. The continental shelf extends throughout the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea to help create this vast area of shallow seas rich in marine life. This area that extends all the way to the Northern edge the continental shelf to north of Alaska will continue to be the study area on our trip.
Looking at Tomorrow Across the International Date Line
One of the imaginary lines humans have created on globe is the International Date Line. Today we traveled right next to that imaginary line and were able to see tomorrow. In this picture below is the island that sits in middle of the Bering Strait, the Russian island of Big Diomede.
Between the ship and the island runs the International Date Line. So for us on the ship it was sunrise for Thursday Morning, but for the island of Big Diomede it was sunrise for Friday Morning. So yes, I saw tomorrow!
The Arctic Circle
The tilt of the earth on its axis is a topic we covered in my Science class this year. This tilt not only creates our seasons but the lands of 24 hours daylight in the summer and 24 hours of darkness in the winter. That line is just north of latitude 66°33′ and we have crossed that line. Its now August so we are headed to fall, but sun is out at midnight and is setting around 12:30 am and is up by 6am. In between these night time hours are still twilight, meaning never truly dark and typically you can still see the horizon.
Today’s Wildlife Sightings
Today a pair of Fin Whales swam by several hundred meters from the ship. Fin whales are the second largest animals on this planet second to the Blue Whale and are also endangered. So, it was special to see them. Fin Whales eat crustaceans, squid and small schools of fish and can grow up to 85 ft / 25 m.
Now and Looking forward
As we move forward in time the sun will rise 5 minutes later a day and set 5 minutes earlier. That means we lose 10 minutes of sun a day. In another 2 weeks towards the end of this trip in two weeks there will be 140 minutes less or two hours and 20 minutes of less day light!
NOAA Teacher at Sea Chris Peters Onboard NOAA Ship Oregon II July 10 – 19, 2013
Mission: SEAMAP Summer Groundfish Survey Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico, leaving from Pascagoula, MS Date: July 11, 2013
Weather and Location: Time: 17:24 Greenwich Mean Time (1:24 p.m. in Rockville, MD)
Speed (knots): 9.70
Water temperature: 28.30 degrees Celsius
Salinity (PSU = Practical Salinity Units): 33.14
Air temperature: 30.80 degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity: 64%
Wind Speed (knots): 6.55
Barometric Pressure (mb = millibars): 1015.13
Depth (m) = 172.50
Science and Technology Log
Weather and Location Vocabulary
Some of the weather and location terms will be unfamiliar to you, so I will give some explanation and background.
Latitude: imaginary lines that run horizontally (think of the horizon) on a map or globe and are sometimes called parallels because they are always the same distance from each other. To remember which direction the lines run, think of the rungs of a ladder (ladder-tude). They begin at zero at the equator and continue to 90 degrees at each pole. Each degree is equivalent to about 69 miles.
Longitude: imaginary that run vertically. They are also called meridians. Longitude lines are not parallel because they meet at the north and south poles. Zero degrees longitude is found at Greenwich, England, and the meridians meet at 180 degrees in the Pacific Ocean and the International Date Line.
Knots: another way to measure speed, like miles-per-hour, often used by mariners. It is equal to one nautical mile, 2,000 yards, and approximately 1.151 mph. The word knots dates back to the days when sailors would toss a log, attached to a rope knotted at regular intervals, off the stern of a ship. The sailors would count the number of knots that passed through their hands in a certain period of time, and that number was used to express the ship’s speed. Students (and parents) who have visited St. Mary’s City have seen exactly how this works!
Celsius: a way to measure temperature. The freezing point for Celsius is 0 degrees, and the boiling point is 100 degrees. Alternatively, the freezing point for Fahrenheit is 32 degrees, while the boiling point is 212 degrees. Celsius can be converted to Fahrenheit by multiplying the starting degrees Celsius by 9, then dividing that number by 5. The last step is to add 32, and your answer is the equivalent degrees in Fahrenheit.
Salinity: the amount of dissolved salt in the water. It is measured in PSU, which stands for Practical Salinity Units. Ocean water normally is made up of 3.5% salt, and contains 35 PSUs. The salinity of the water affects the electrical conductivity of the water (how well electricity can pass through water).
About the Oregon II
Oregon II is forty-six years old, having been launched in February 1967. It is 170 feet long and 34 feet wide, with a welded steel hull. Oregon II weighs 703 tons with all of its equipment on board. The ship has a cruising speed of 12 knots, and is capable of traveling 7,810 nautical miles, and staying out for 33 days. It was built for NOAA as a science ship and contains an oceanographic wet lab, a specimen lab, an instrumentation lab, and a hydrographic lab. With sleeping space for 31 people, up to twelve are usually scientists. Scientists include Teachers at Sea, college student volunteers, interns, and other volunteers. To learn more about the ship, visit the Oregon II website. You may also track our progress by visiting http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/shiptracker.html and choosing Oregon II.
Getting ready for departure
I arrived in the small town of Pascagoula, Mississippi on Monday night. On Tuesday morning I received an email from Kim, the chief scientist, letting me know that a welcome aboard meeting was scheduled for 12:30 the next day, but that a crucial piece of equipment, the J frame, was broken and we would be unable to leave before it was fixed. Either way, I was going to “check in” to my cabin on the ship on Tuesday afternoon, and hope our departure would not be delayed.
I met one of the scientists, Alonzo, on Tuesday afternoon and he gave me a tour of Oregon II, as well as NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) National Marine Fisheries Service, Pascagoula Lab. I met many people, from the unit leader of the trawl surveys, to the receptionists, who do much more than answer telephones. There were the plankton scientists, the marine mammal specialists, and the seafood inspection scientists, to name a few. The NOAA building was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina several years ago. After working out of trailers for about four years, the staff in Pascagoula moved into a beautiful new building overlooking The Pascagoula River.
The ship, though, was of even greater interest to me, since I would be spending ten days aboard her. As we approached the gangplank, I saw that the J frame, normally attached to the side of the ship, was dismantled on the dock. Things were not looking too hopeful. In spite of that, I was excited to see the rest of the ship. We saw the bridge, where the ship’s master, also referred to as the commanding officer (CO), and the NOAA Corps officers who pilot the ship spend a lot of time. The stern of the boat (the rear) is where much of the science work is done. The outriggers, a pair, sit high up on the ship, towards the back, and can be extended out to the sides for the groundfish collection. As we walked inside from the stern, we saw the wet lab, where fish and sea life are measured and sorted, and the dry lab, where much of the data is recorded.
Certain personnel onboard are important enough to have a private cabin (the master and the chief scientist, for example). Most of us, however, share a cabin with one other person, usually someone who works an opposite shift. For example, I am working the noon to midnight shift, and my roommate works the midnight to noon shift. This works to give us each a little bit of privacy and quiet while we are trying to sleep. As you can see, the beds are like little nooks built into the walls, and have heavy curtains to keep the light out if you are sleeping. There is actually plenty of storage space for our clothes. As you might expect, everything that opens has a hook or a locking mechanism on it. When the seas are rough, you don’t want drawers flying open!
Those of you who know me won’t be surprised that one of my favorite spots onboard is the galley! It only seats twelve, so with twenty-nine people onboard, the general policy is to “eat it and beat it”. There is a “chief steward” and a “second cook”, who make delicious meals and keep the galley stocked with snacks! Of course they do much more than that.
Wednesday morning there was much to do to be prepared for departure. Imagine going on a vacation to the beach for a week, but being unable to make a trip to the grocery store, drug store, mall, or even the doctor if someone gets sick. You must think of everything you need for ten days and bring it with you. The galley had to be stocked, as well as all paper products needed in other areas of the ship. The repaired (we hoped) J frame had to be re-installed, everyone who had not yet boarded and settled in had to arrive, cars had to be moved and people shuttled back, science materials had to be loaded and stored, and many other little things had to be done.
At 12:30 p.m. we met in the crew’s lounge for a welcome aboard meeting, still assuming an on-time departure. The J frame had been installed and was being tested. At that time I met the other scientists, volunteers, and an intern. At 2:00 we all went out to the well of the boat to wave to those seeing us off, and we actually started to slowly pull away from the dock a little after 2:30. The tropical storm, Chantal, was at the back of the minds of many of us, and we would be heading in her direction. I knew, though, that if the storm looked like a problem, we would find a safe place to wait her out. We were on a NOAA ship, after all.
Did you know?
Did you know that the bridge uses sonar, radar, AIS (Automatic Identification System), GPS, a magnetic compass, and electronic and paper charts to navigate to new locations? Charts are similar to maps, but include much more information such as the contours of the land below the water, obstructions in the water, buoys, oil rigs, rocks, and shoals.
Questions for my students:
If the Oregon II is 170 feet long, about how many meters long is it?
If the water temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, what is the temperature measured in Fahrenheit?
We will be collecting plankton on this leg of the mission. How do you think we will preserve the plankton in order to get it back to the scientists?
What questions do you have for me? I’ll do my best to answer them in my next blog entry.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will check back in a few days for an update!
Latitude: 60°55’68” N
Longitude: 179°34’49” E
Ship speed: 11 knots (12.7 mph)
Weather Data from the Bridge
Wind Speed: 10 knots (11.5 mph)
Wind Direction: 300°
Wave Height: 2-4 ft with a 4-6 ft swell
Surface Water Temperature: 8.7°C (47.6°F)
Air Temperature: 8°C (46.4°F)
Barometric Pressure: 1013 millibars (1 atm)
Science and Technology Log
Previously, we learned how the biological trawl data onboard the NOAA Research Vessel Oscar Dyson are collected and analyzed to help calculate biomass of the entire Bering Sea Walleye pollock population. Last blog, I mentioned that the scientific method for estimating the total pollock biomass is not complete without acoustics data, more specifically hydroacoustics! In fact, hydroacoustic data are the real key to estimating how many pollock are in the Bering Sea! That is why our mission is called the Alaskan Pollock Midwater ACOUSTIC-trawl Survey.
The Oscar Dyson is using hydroacoustics to collect data on the schools of fish in the water below us, but we do not know the composition of those schools. Hydroacoustics give us a proxy for the quantity of fish, but we need a closer look. The trawl data provide a sample from each aggregation of schools and allow the NOAA scientists that closer look. The trawl data explain the composition of each school by age, gender and species distribution. Basically, the trawl data verifies and validates the hydroacoustic data. The hydroacoustics data collected over the entire Bering Sea in systematic transects combined with the validating biological data from the numerous individual trawls give scientists a very good estimate for the entire Walleye pollock population in the Bering Sea.
So what is hydroacoustics and how does it work???
Hydroacoustics (“hydro” = water, “acoustics” = sound) is the field of study that deals with underwater sound. Remember, sound is a form of energy that travels in pressure waves. Sound travels roughly 4.3 times faster in water than in air (depending on temperature and salinity of the water). Here is a link with an interactive animation comparing the speed of sound in water, air, and steel! This change in speed will become very important later… keep reading!
Lower sound frequencies travel farther. This is how humpback whales can communicate over great distances with their whale songs! Click on whale songs to hear one!
Whales are not the only aquatic organisms to use sound! Much like dolphins use sound to echo-locate, people use technology to “see” under water using sound energy. We call this technology SONAR (Sound Navigation And Ranging).
On a typical recreational watercraft, this technology can be found in the form of a “fish-finder.”
In commercial fishing, this technology is used in much the same way, just on a larger scale. Here is an animation showing a commercial trawler using SONAR to locate fish.
The Oscar Dyson has a much more powerful, extremely sensitive, carefully calibrated, scientific version of what many people have on their bass boats. These are mounted on the pod, which is on the bottom of the centerboard, the lowest part of the ship. The Oscar Dyson has an entire suite of SONAR instrumentation including the five SIMRAD EK60 transducers located on the bottom of the centerboard that operate at different Khertz, the SIMRAD ME70 multibeam transducer located on the hull, and a pair of SIMRAD ITI transducers on the trailing edge of the centerboard (one pointed toward the starboard side, the other toward port).
This “fish-finder” technology works by emitting a sound wave at a particular frequency and waiting for the sound wave to bounce back (the echo) at the same frequency. The time between sending and receiving the sound wave determines how far away an object is, whether it be the bottom or fish. When the sound waves return from a school of fish, the strength of the returning echo helps determine the fish density (how many fish are there).
Another piece of the puzzle… how reflective an individual fish is to sound waves. This is called target strength. Each fish reflects sound energy sent from the transducers, but why? For fish, we rely on the swim bladder, the organ that fish use to stay buoyant in the water column. Since it is filled with air, it reflects sound very well. When the sound energy goes from one medium to another, there is a stronger reflection of that sound energy. The bigger the fish, the bigger the swim bladder; the bigger the swim bladder, the more sound is reflected and received by the transducer. We call this backscatter, or target strength, and use it to estimate the size of the fish we are detecting. This is why fish that have air-filled swim bladders show up nicely on hydroacoustic data while fish that lack swim bladders (like sharks), or that have oil or wax filled swim bladders (like Orange Roughy) have weak signals.
Target strength is how we determine how dense the fish are in a particular school. Scientists take the backscatter that we measure from the transducers and divide that by the target strength for an individual and that gives you the number of individuals that must be there to produce that amount of backscatter. 100 fish produce 100x more echo than a single fish. We extrapolate this information to all the area of the Bering Sea to estimate the pollock population.
So the goal is to measure the hydroacoustic density along each transect and extrapolate that data to represent the entire survey area between transects (the area not sampled because the Oscar Dyson can’t cover every square meter of the Bering Sea). When you combine the hydroacoustic data for all of the 30 transects (a total of ~5,000 nautical miles in an area of 100,000 square nautical miles) and the lengths collected in the biological trawl data, you can convert the length data into target strength data to create a distribution of target strengths and find the average target strength for the population. In doing so, you get a complete picture of the Walleye pollock population in the Bering Sea.
But there’s more!!! Scientists ALSO use hydroacoustic data when trawling to determine if they have caught a large enough sample size to collect fish length data to validate their target strength data. If you recall reading my first blog from sea that taught about the parts of the net, I wrote about and had a drawing of the “kite” on which the “turtle” was attached. The “turtle” is a SIMRAD FS70 trawl SONAR. It has a downward facing transponder that shows a digital “picture” of the size of the net opening. You can also see individual fish and/or schools of fish enter the net by watching this display. Since the scientists only need about 300 fish for a statistically significant sample, they watch this screen carefully so that they do not take more fish than they need. When the lead scientist thinks there are enough fish in the net, she gives the request to the Officer on Deck to “haul back.” Unlike commercial trawlers, a typical trawl on the Oscar Dyson only lasts 25 minutes. Sometimes, we are only officially fishing for 5 minutes if we pull through a large school.
What are the data telling us?
The Walleye pollock data suggest that the population is currently stable; however, there is some evidence of pollock in waters that have traditionally been north of their uppermost documented population range. Are warmer waters due to climate change to blame for this possible shift? Here is an interesting article that addresses this issue and raises several other trends regarding pollock population response to changes in food source and predation due to climate change. Click on the picture to open the article!
The economic and ecological implications of a shifting pollock population range are a bit unsettling. Fish do not know political boundaries. As the pollock population range possibly shifts north, more of that range will lie within Russian waters than in previous years. This may hurt the U.S. commercial fishing industry as they settle for less of a resource that was once abundant. Since quotas are set based on last year’s numbers, there is a time lag which may result in overfishing in U.S. waters that might lead to a collapse in the Alaskan Walleye pollock fishing industry. The U.S. has invested a tremendous amount of research into maintaining a sustainable pollock fishery. Other countries may be responding to a variety of factors in which sustainability is just one when they are managing pollock stocks and setting catch quotas. Since pollock is a trans-boundary stock, this could lead to greater uncertainty in management of the entire population if pollock increasingly colonize more northern Bering Sea waters as influenced by climate change.
Food for thought…
Next blog, we will learn about cutting edge technology that may eventually make hauling back fish and collecting biological fish data on board the acoustic survey missions obsolete.
It’s tomorrow, TODAY! This morning at 6am Alaska Time, we crossed the International Date Line (IDL). The IDL is at 180° longitude. General Vessel Assistant Brian Kibler and I went out to the bow of the ship so we would be the first onboard to cross the line!
Over the next two days, our transects take us back and forth over the IDL 3 more times. Fortunately, onboard our Oscar Dyson time warp machine we simply observe the Alaska Time Zone (the time zone from our port of call). With everyone onboard operating different shifts, and with 24/7 operations, it would be quite confusing if we kept changing our clocks to observe the local time zone.
Mariners who cross the IDL when at sea are inducted into the “Order of the Golden Dragon” and receive a certificate with the details of this momentous crossing. There are several other notorious crossing that receive special recognition. They are:
▪ The Order of the Blue Nose for sailors who have crossed the Arctic Circle.
▪ The Order of the Red Nose for sailors who have crossed the Antarctic Circle.
▪ The Order of the Ditch for sailors who have passed through the Panama Canal.
▪ The Order of the Rock for sailors who have transited the Strait of Gibraltar.
▪ The Safari to Suez for sailors who have passed through the Suez Canal.
▪ The Order of the Shellback for sailors who have crossed the Equator.
▪ The Golden Shellback for sailors who have crossed the point where the Equator crosses the International Date Line.
▪ The Emerald Shellback or Royal Diamond Shellback for sailors who cross at 0 degrees off the coast of West Africa (where the Equator crosses the Prime Meridian)
▪ The Realm of the Czars for sailors who crossed into the Black Sea.
▪ The Order of Magellan for sailors who circumnavigated the earth.
▪ The Order of the Lakes for sailors who have sailed on all five Great Lakes.
NOAA Teacher at Sea: Karen Matsumoto Onboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette April 19 – May 4, 2010
NOAA Ship: Oscar Elton Sette Mission: Transit/Acoustic Cetacean Survey Geographical Area: North Pacific Ocean; transit from Guam to Oahu, Hawaii, including Wake Is. Date: Friday, April 29, 2010
Science and Technology Log
We passed over a seamount, which is an undersea mountain that rises from the seafloor (usually volcanic) to an elevation below sea level. Seamounts often project upwards into shallower zones and are more inviting to sea life, which provide habitats for marine species that are not found on or around the surrounding deeper ocean bottom. This may explain the numerous sightings we have experienced the past couple days.
In addition to simply providing physical presence, the seamount itself may deflect deep currents and create upwelling. This process can bring nutrients into the photosynthetic zone, producing an area of activity in an otherwise desert-like open ocean. These seamount areas may be vital stopping points for some migratory animals such as whales and seabirds. Some recent research also indicates that whales may use seamount features as navigational aids throughout their migration.
I have been working primarily with the acoustics group, launching and monitoring sonobuoys. Over the past couple days, we have detected minke whale boings and sperm whale clicks on a consistent basis. Our sonobuoys did not pick up the whistles of the melon headed whales, but these high frequency whistles were showing up on the towed hydrophone array. Often when visual sightings are reported to acoustics from the “flying bridge” observation deck, we have long been monitoring their vocalizations!
Finding and observing cetaceans while at sea is very challenging, and viewing conditions are strongly dependent on weather and sea conditions. I also spent a couple days with the visual monitoring team up on the “flying bridge.” Because we are looking for visual observation cues up to a distance of several miles using the “Big Eyes” binoculars, it is critical that the observer pick up on whale and dolphin “signs” other than seeing the animals themselves out of the water. These signs include blows, splashing, dorsal fins at the surface of the water, or the presence of congregating sea birds.
A trained whale observer, like a seasoned birder, is able to pick out distinguishing characteristics from a distance, including the shape and size of the “blows”. Each species has a distinctive blow due to differences in blowhole (nostril) placement, number of blowholes, and the amount of time the whale can go between blows.
Source: Alan N. Baker, Whales and dolphins of New Zealand and Australia: an identification guide. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1999, pp. 42–43
It was a terrific two days for the research team. We had a record number of sightings, including my first whale sighting on the “Big Eyes”! It was really exciting to be the first person on a whale sighting event. I first noticed it’s “blow” which led to me seeing others. I guess I now understand the phrase, “Thar she blows” through firsthand experience!
We had a full moon on April 29th, and we also crossed the International Dateline. We should have watched the movie “Groundhog Day” last night on board the ship!
I had fun helping out with dinner, and made Vietnamese salad with Doc and helped Jay and Randy with the mashed potatoes. Randy also made his most famous cheese and dill biscuits, which are heavenly!
In acoustics, we have been monitoring the vocalizations of several cetaceans that we have not seen through visual observations. Amanda, one of our acousticians (I never heard of this profession before – it means acoustics specialist!) has also been monitoring minke whale boings. This is her interpretation of what we could be hearing:
Question of the Day: If it is Thursday on the east side of the International Date Line what day is it on the west side?
What is the International Dateline?
The International Date Line is the imaginary line on the Earth that separates two consecutive calendar days. The date in the Eastern hemisphere, to the left of the line, is always one day ahead of the date in the Western hemisphere. The dateline has been recognized as a matter of convenience and has no force in international law.
Without the International Date Line travelers going westward would discover that when they returned home, one day more than they thought had passed, even though they had kept careful tally of the days. This first happened to Magellan’s crew after their circumnavigation of the world. A person traveling eastward would find that one fewer days had elapsed than recorded, which is what happened to Phineas Fogg in “Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne (which allowed Fogg to win his bet when he thought he had lost!).
In celebration of crossing the dateline, the Sette crew launched expired signal flares as a “safety exercise”! I had similar signal flares before when I had a boat, but have never used them before! The crew let me light one off. Pretty exciting!
New Term/Phrase/Word of the Day: Blow
A blow is a visible cloud of warm, moist air expelled from a whale’s lungs as it surfaces. It can appear low and bushy, or tall and columnar, depending on the species. Blows are used as a feature in identifying cetaceans in the field.
The blowhole is really a nostril, or respiratory opening of a cetacean. Odontocetes, toothed whales have one blowhole, and mysticetes, the baleen whales have two.
Did you know that:
Sperm whales form stable, long-term groups made up of females which form the core of sperm whale society. These groups consist of about a dozen adult females accompanied by their female and young male offspring. Males about six years or older leave their mother’s group to join all-male bachelor groups called “bachelor schools”. As the male sperm whales become older, they leave the bachelor group and essentially become solitary during their prime breeding years and in old age. Matriarchy is common among whale societies.
NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown March 14 – April 20, 2001
Mission: Asian-Pacific Regional Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-ASIA) Geographical Area: Western Pacific Date: March 20, 2001
This morning was another exciting morning up on the bridge, watching the swells and the albatross. We finally identified these birds as an adult and a young Black-footed Albatross. The swells appear to be smaller when viewing from the bridge. Lower down a few decks the swells appear to be a bit more intimidating. We are rocking and rolling today. It is interesting to see how we adapt to these motions. They don’t seem to be bothering anyone any more.
Today we cross the International Date Line and at midnight we turn our clocks back to 23:00 hrs. Then after an hour it will become Thursday instead of Wednesday. How bizarre! Does that mean we will be “older” or “younger” or just confused?
Yesterday afternoon we turned the ship around and sailed backwards at 5 kt/hr. Why, you ask? Because the wind was blowing the smoke stake fumes toward the aerosol testing equipment which would not be a good thing. So, we traveled at a leisurely pace for a number of hours and then decided “enough of that”. We turned around again and picked up speed (13 kt/hr) so that the ship would reach the correct position this morning to be directly under the Terra satellite for exchange of information.
Needless to say, the turning around and increasing of speed was like a very loud alarm clock in the middle of the night!
This evening will be the beginning of “science night” meetings. The teams of researchers will take turns explaining how and why they are conducting their experiments. This will be very helpful for me! Then I will be able to pass that information on to you.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: How many more time zones will we pass through by the time we reach Japan?
Bye for now, I am headed back to the bridge! That is the place to be..