March 8, 2012
NASA rocket launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, January 11, 2012

NASA rocket launch from Wallops Island, Virginia, January 11, 2012     Photo: NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

NASA To Launch Wind-Tracking Rockets

Agency hopes to understand jet stream

NASA is planning to launch five rockets sometime within the next month that will help meteorologists track the flow of the jet stream off the Atlantic coast. Once airborne from Wallops Island, Virginia, the rockets will expel a cloudy film in the upper atmosphere, then crash land in the ocean. The film will be visible to scientists and should help explain wind patterns at high altitude, where speeds can reach 300 miles per hour. The films will also be partially visible to east coast residents on the day of the launch.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal



Kiribati     Photo: Luigig/Flickr

Kiribati May Buy Land in Fiji

Country would grow crops, resettle people

The south Pacific nation of Kiribati is in negotiations to buy land in Fiji to relocate its people in the face of rising sea levels. Kiribati President Anote Tong said that he was in talks with the Fijian government to buy as many as 4,940 acres on Vanua Levu island. The land would be used to grow crops and potentially house islanders fleeing rising sea levels. In an interview with Fijian state TV, Tong said that Kiribati would likely begin by sending a small number of skilled workers to establish infrastructure and merge into Fijian society. "We don't want 100,000 people from Kiribati coming to Fiji in one go," he said. Last year, Tong's government suggested that the country might resettle it's people onto oil-rig-like artificial islands.

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald


Black bear cub, Alaska

Black bear cub, Alaska     Photo: Alan Vernon./Flickr

Alaska Man Frees Bear Cub Stuck in Jar

8-pound cub near death on mountain

A man doing snow study tests on a mountain in Ketchikan, Alaska this weekend found and freed a black bear cub who had become trapped in a plastic jar. Michael Schuler was hiking and evaluating avalanche risk on Deer Mountain with his dog when he notices a small animal struggling to free itself from a jar. Schuler pinned the jar to the snow with his ice axe, then and cut it open with a pocket knife. "He was really tucked up, he was quite cold–totally snow covered," Schuler said. The bear ran off once freed. In July, a Tennessee wildlife officer rescued an adult black bear from plastic jar that had been stuck on its head for three weeks.



Mount Timpanogos from South Fork

Mount Timpanogos from South Fork     Photo: msn678/Flickr

Utah Congress Passes SkiLink Resolution

Support grows for tram over Wasatch

On Tuesday, the Utah House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of a controversial plan to connect four ski areas in Park City with three ski resorts in Cottonwood canyon. In a largely symbolic vote that split along party lines, Republicans threw their support behind a proposed SkiLink network that would include a tram through the Wasatch backcounty. "Although widely seen in Europe, a connection of this scale does not exist in North America," said Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. "From a marketing and skier experience perspective, this would be a game-changer." The U.S. Department of Agriculture opposes the project, which is subject to federal approval pending an environmental review.

Read more at ESPN


James Cameron

James Cameron speaks at the 2010 TED Conference     Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

James Cameron Plans Solo Dive to Mariana

Filmmaker will descend in self-designed sub

Filmmaker and ocean explorer James Cameron plans to descend to the ocean's deepest point in the Mariana Trench in a one-man submersible within the next few weeks. If successful, Cameron will become the first human to visit the floor of Mariana Trench, seven miles below the ocean's surface, in more than 50 years. He would also become the first person in history to do it alone. Cameron's Australian-built sub has been called "as futuristic as anything in his movies," and will allow the filmmaker to spend six hours collecting samples for scientific research. On Tuesday, Cameron set a solo dive record during a five-mile-deep test run off Papua New Guinea.

Read more at National Geographic


Teton AT

Teton AT     Photo: Courtesy of Teton AT

Teton AT's Romeo Killed in Avalanche

Romeo, Onufer caught in Jackson slide

Steve Romeo, the blogger behind the influential backcountry skiing website Teton AT, has been killed in an avalanche outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming. According to Jackson Hole News & Guide, Romeo and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort employee Chris Onufer were reported missing on Wednesday evening after failing to return from a ski tour in Grand Teton National Park. A search and rescue mission launched Thursday morning discovered a large avalanche on Ranger Peak. Rescuers recovered Romeo's and Onufer's bodies after a beacon search on Thursday afternoon.

Read more at Jackson Hole Weekly