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Features

Wind or water? Hurricane Harvey's most destructive force

After Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in August 2017, the massive flooding in Houston was widely reported. In some Gulf Coast towns, the damage caused by high winds and the storm surge went less noticed. The month after the storm, the authors visited several Gulf Coast communities to survey damage and quantify factors that influenced its distribution, with the hope that their observations might help coastal communities prepare for future hurricanes.

01 Apr 2019

How to become a cave diver

While snorkeling the spring pools is cool (no pun intended), a more in-depth way to experience Florida’s freshwater springs is to scuba dive in them. However, entering the caves requires you to get a cave diving certification. That’s because cave diving has inherent challenges distinct from scuba diving’s own challenges. Even after you’re familiar with buoyancy control, breathing control and how to work your gear (all part of getting scuba certified), there’s much to learn about the specifics of cave diving.

18 Mar 2019

Getting there and getting around Florida

For travelers flying in from out of state, Florida has several major airports, including in Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA), as well as numerous other options. Orlando is the most central large hub and may be the best option if you’re heading toward the state’s springs, which are concentrated in the north-central part of the state. For traveling to and between sites, a car is the best option.

18 Mar 2019

Travels in Geology: Finding Florida's hidden freshwater gems

Florida is renowned for its beaches and seascapes, but the state also has possibly the highest concentration of springs in the world, due to the karst geology and climate. Whether you are a cave-certified scuba diver, are on the hunt for fossils, or you and your family are just looking for a vacation from Florida’s more crowded beaches and theme parks, Florida’s freshwater offers something for everyone.

18 Mar 2019

Citizen science (and art)

Juno carries a visible light camera, JunoCam, which is intended primarily to take photos that, it’s hoped, will provoke public interest in Jupiter. The images sent back are available for anyone to download and manipulate for scientific or artistic purposes. Thousands of images, both raw and manipulated, have been made available for viewing, and hundreds of citizen scientists have been engaged in the project. Scientists say they are delighted at how JunoCam has resonated and increased interest in, and understanding of, the Juno mission. See www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.

11 Mar 2019

Juno unveils Jupiter's secrets

NASA’s Juno mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, and arrived at Jupiter nearly five years later, having traveled 2.8 billion kilometers. Since then, Juno has made a plethora of new discoveries, upturning much of what we thought we knew about the gas giant. What else could it reveal?

11 Mar 2019

Deep Space Network

Messages from Juno and other spacecraft in the far reaches of the solar system are relayed to scientists via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which was created in 1958. DSN consists of three sets of powerful radio antennae spaced about 120 degrees longitude apart around the world near Barstow, Calif., Canberra, Australia, and Madrid, Spain. The complexes are all situated in bowl-shaped terrain in semi-mountainous rural areas to minimize interference from external radio waves. As Earth rotates, at least one of the DSN antennae is pointed toward the spacecraft at all times. Communications via DSN begin and end at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the system.

11 Mar 2019

Art joins science in coral communication

Scientists are not alone in their quest to observe and understand how coral reefs change through time. Artists and researchers have been creating stunning paintings, movies and even soundscapes to examine how reefs are responding to environmental pressures. Art has the power to engage viewers in scientific inquiry when they least expect it, reaching new audiences and facilitating public awareness.

04 Mar 2019

Piecing together the big picture of coral reef health

To better understand what’s happening to the world’s reefs, a team of researchers launched the 100 Island Challenge, a plan to survey 100 reefs twice each in five years using traditional methods combined with advanced imaging technology. Learning how reefs grow and change over time will help local populations better manage and conserve the fragile yet vital ecosystems. 

04 Mar 2019

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