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Highlights Archive

Earth Science Division Highlights for week ending September 26, 2007

WRAP Team receives Ames Honor Award.
The Western States Fire Mission Team received an award for Group Achievement at the 2007 Ames Honor Award ceremony, Sept. 20. The award was given for excellence in providing operational real-time fire condition information on the Esperanza Fire from a UAS operating in national airspace. The Esperanza Fire destroyed 40,200 acres, 34 homes, and 20 outbuildings in Southern California, October 2006, and it took the lives of 5 fire fighters. Vince Ambrosia accepted the award on behalf of the team. (POC: Vince Ambrosia, , 4-6565)

R. Chatfield gives presentation at Harvard.
Robert Chatfield (SGG) presented the departmental colloquium, Sept. 14, at Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Science. His talk, “Regional Smog Ozone and Its Production Can Be Made Broadly and Inexpensively Visible!” details the use of a simple and inexpensive optical train to detect boundary layer smog ozone and its tracers. (POC: Bob Chatfield,, 4-5490)

New publication from CASA Team.
Potter, C., S. Klooster, A. Huete, and V. Genovese. 2007. Terrestrial carbon sinks for the United States predicted from MODIS satellite data and ecosystem modeling. Earth Interactions , 11: 13. (POC: Chris Potter, , 4-6164)

Astrobiology team publishes article on extremophiles found in the world's driest place .
Jennifer Dungan (SGE) analyzed spatial patterns of cyanobacteria from study sites in the Atacama desert . Findings were reported in this month's edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research. (Full citation: Warren-Rhodes, K. A., J. L. Dungan, J. Piatek, K. Stubbs, B. Gez-Silva, Y. Chen, and C. P. McKay. 2007. Ecology and spatial pattern of cyanobacterial community island patches in the Atacama Desert, Chile. J. Geophys. Res ., 112, G04S15, doi:10.1029/2006JG000305.) The analysis showed that quartz rocks are not occupied by cyanobacteria randomly, but that non-random processes distinct from those creating the background rock pattern must be invoked to explain microbial patchiness in the Atacama. Non-random processes may include physical controls (rock size/orientation, microtopography) that reflect water limitations and biological dispersal via rainfall, fog and wind. This work has implications for the search for life on Mars and other planets. (POC: Jennifer Dungan, , 4-3618)


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