Science and Technology

Bonnie Stevens

Planetary scientists in Flagstaff study Mars as if they are there. And virtually, they are. Northern Arizona University’s Mars Lab immerses them into the Martian environment with the aid of 3D goggles and the latest images from the Curiosity Rover and orbiting satellites. Christopher Edwards runs the Mars Rover Operations and Analysis Laboratory where he can explore old lake beds, collapsed lava flows, shifting sand dunes and rocky ridges. 


A rare “super bloom” is rolling across the Southwest this spring. A late, wet El Niño pattern has caused an explosion of wildflowers from the Pacific Ocean, to the Mojave Desert, to the mountains of northern Arizona. Brian Klimowski is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Flagstaff. 


An elusive bat in the forests of Nicaragua has caught the attention of researchers at Northern Arizona University. The Vampyrum spectrum is the largest bat in the Americas, with a three foot wingspan. Wildlife biologist Carol Chambers collects data on the rare animal. She says habitat loss and human disturbance make them particularly susceptible to population decline.


Courtesy

The spring equinox is one of two days a year when the equator lines up with the center of the sun, creating a balance of day and night. Historically – for many indigenous people of the world – this celestial event marks a time for renewal, emergence of life and planting of crops. 


Derek Shields/myurbanfarmscape.com

Kids love to play in the dirt. So Flagstaff ecologist Anita Antoninka is channeling that love into learning… using it as a way to teach kids about the effects of climate change on the earth’s biocrust. Today, she’s working with a seventh grade science class at Northland Preparatory Academy to see how a warming planet affects moss.


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