20 de junio de 2019
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Astronauts train for Moon, Mars by sowing coral on ocean reefs

By Ivonne Malaver

By Ivonne Malaver

Miami, Jun 11 (efe-epa).- Two astronauts this week are preparing off the coast of Florida for the "hostile conditions" of future missions to the Moon and Mars, sowing coral on the ocean bottom to help save the Earth's threatened reefs.

"We're ready to go live and work on the ocean floor!" wrote Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency who commands the mission 19 meters (62 feet) beneath the ocean surface near Key Largo, on her Twitter account.

The latest edition of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) brings together astronauts and "a land-based support team" from the US and European space agencies, along with environmental experts who will work until June 20 on tests for long-duration space missions.

One of their tasks is linked to the construction and installation of "coral trees" near the Aquarius Reef Base, an underwater preserve that Florida International University has about 10 km (6 miles) off the coast of Key Largo.

"In the interior of Aquarius, aquanauts and astronauts will tackle an array of experiments and human research related to long duration space travel," said Bill Todd, the head of the NEEMO 23 project, in a statement.

Cristoforetti is being accompanied by NASA astronaut candidate Jessica Watkins and marine researchers Shirley Pomponi and Csilla Ari D'Agostino, as well as other habitat specialists.

"In many ways, Aquarius functions like the Space Station, with set procedures, roles and tight timelines," said Cristoforetti at the start of the mission.

During their mission, the astronauts will carry out dexterity tasks similar to those needed to explore the surfaces of other planets while they are helping to save the coral, the Coral Restoration Foundation, a non-governmental organization participating in NEEMO 23, said.

"The daily seafloor traverses, or extravehicular activities in space jargon, are jam-packed with technology and operations concept testing, as well as complex marine science," said Todd.

During their mission, the astronauts will live and work underwater along with marine scientists to train themselves for spaceflight and other objectives linked with space missions, such as stays aboard the International Space Station and future missions to the Moon and Mars.

"It doesn't happen every day that you get to live 10 days underwater where you have this incredibly rich marine flora and fauna," said Cristoforetti.

The "coral trees" were developed by the CRF and are now being used by coral restoration groups all over the world to foster rapid growth of large quantities of coral.

A coral tree is a structure made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) attached to the ocean bed and outfitted with floats on its upper part, to which up to 100 coral fragments about the size of a finger can be attached to grow.

The coral grows and reproduces sexually by spawning, but it also reproduces asexually by "fragmentation," when - under favorable conditions - a branch breaks off and falls onto the reef whereupon it can join with the reef and begin to grow into a new colony.

This second process is the one being used by the CRF, which already has seven nurseries in Florida that include up to 11 coral species.

Sowing the corals in deep water poses another challenge for environmentalists, said Amelia Moura, the director of the CRF's scientific program.

Moura said that the environment at the Aquarius base is "completely different" from the sites where coral is traditionally cultivated.

"This makes it an exciting opportunity to further understand how different coral species and different genetic strains within certain species react to different environments, different fish communities, and different light conditions," she said.

When NEEMO 23 is concluded, FIU will take charge of the new nursery and will study the young coral and monitor the nutrients and herbivores at the Aquarius base site.

Histórico de noticias
Trump: I expect congressional Democrats will do right thing, approve USMCA

Washington, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that the ratification of the newly renegotiated trade treaty with Mexico and Canada...

Slack shares jump 49.54 pct. on going public without IPO

New York, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Slack Technologies Inc. on Thursday tried a different approach from other firms wanting to go public by listing its shares...

Iran forces say they shot down US spy drone near Strait of Hormuz

Washington, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump said Thursday that the Iranian downing of a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz was likely the result...

High-valuation startups flourishing in Brazil

Alba Santandreu

2 Die in violent protests in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Violence surrounding anti-government protests here in the Honduran capital left two people dead and a score of others...

Asylum requests surge due to crises in Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras

Bogota, Jun 20 (efe-epa).- Mexico and Costa Rica were the Latin American countries that received the most asylum applications in 2018 - 29,660 and 28,000...

New York reviews history of urban art in unprecedented exhibit

By Nora Quintanilla

Chilean scientists sound alarm as glaciers retreat

Santiago, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Scientists in Chile warned Wednesday that the retreat of glaciers in the southern region of Patagonia as a result of climate...

Former Trump adviser dodges lawmakers' questions on obstruction

Washington, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Hope Hicks, President Donald Trump's former communications director, on Wednesday avoided answering questions put to her by...

Fed keeps US interest rates unchanged

Washington, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The United States Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged despite President Donald Trump's...

Red Cross gives Venezuelan hospitals mosquito nets to battle malaria

Caracas, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The Red Cross will distribute mosquito nets to hospitals in Venezuela to counter the spread of malaria, a disaster management...

Messi hopes to end drought with Argentine national team at Copa America

By Sebastian Meresman

Panama's San Blas archipelago being swallowed by the sea

Maria M. Mur

Brazilian players warn that Peru's Guerrero can be a scoring machine

Salvador, Brazil, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Brazilian national soccer team players Marquinhos and Alisson praised Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero on Wednesday,...

Opponents say Nicaraguan gov't reneged on pledge to free prisoners

Managua, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- Members of the Nicaraguan opposition protested Wednesday outside a prison in Managua to demand that President Daniel Ortega's...

High-scoring Uruguay takes on Japan in Copa America

By Fernando Gimeno

Kate del Castillo gives voice to Ciudad Juarez victims in New York theater

By Nora Quintanilla

Aubrey Plaza about murderous Chucky: Horror is a release we need

By David Villafranca

Pence thanks Latin America for generosity in supporting Venezuela's freedom

Miami, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday renewed the "firm" commitment of the Donald Trump administration to Venezuela's "legitimate"...

Bolivia inaugurates its 1st capsule hotel

La Paz, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Comfort and a futuristic style come together in Bolivia's first capsule hotel, which starting this Tuesday will offer lodging to...

Trump's trade rep sees progress on quick USMCA pact approval

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday emphasized his office's "constructive" talks with Democratic lawmakers...

Brazil's Dani Alves returns to the stadium where it all started

By Carlos Meneses Sanchez

Trump: Shanahan withdraws as defense secretary nominee

Washington, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan decided to withdraw from the process to...

OAS rejects claims of election fraud in Guatemala

Guatemala City, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The head of the electoral mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) for Guatemala rejected Tuesday the...