New NASA Mission: Ships are Tracing Carbon Trails from Sea Creatures


NASA has been preparing a voyage for seven years which would last 40 days, starts from Seattle and has the aim of tracking the way small organisms from the ocean have an on the balance of the world’s carbon. One scientist stays behind, and it is kind of a bittersweet situation.

Paula Bontempi, EXPERTS program scientist who stays behind, says “People ask me, ‘Are you happy?’I don’t know. Are you happy when your kids go off to college?”

It’s graduation time for The EXPORTS oceanographic campaign is finally graduating. It has been funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA. EXPORTS is an abbreviation for Export Processes in the Ocean from Remote Sensing, and their missions are based on carbon and climate.

The sea survey mentioned focuses on the near-microscopic creatures that look like plants (know as phytoplankton) and on the phytoplankton eating creatures.

They are placed at the first link in the food chain of the oceans, and their photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The scientist wants to see what happens to the carbon after phytoplankton eats it and their abundance.

In addition to this, the information that the ships will provide will be analyzed along with the multispectral satellite observations in order to develop the models that track the signature of organic carbon from space.

David Siegel, EXPORTS science lead and a professor of a marine scientist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said that even though it is not the first time such correlations are made between ocean measurements and satellite data, in the weeks ahead they will have better improvements.

“This is special because we’re doing everything at the same time,” he said during a NASA Social meet-up at the University of Washington.


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