NASA investigates Earth!

NASA investigates Earth!

When I say “NASA,” you think of space, right? Anyway, I immediately see the stars, the moon and the astronauts! So imagine my surprise when I learned that NASA was on a mission… on our Earth! To do what? I met Carina Poulin, the Quebec scientist working on this mission. You answered all my questions!

Your mission with NASA is related to plankton. But what are plankton? Plankton is full of small organisms that live in water. Plankton can be plants or animals, and are the basis of the entire marine food chain! Because it cannot resist the current, it never stays in the same place!

Why does NASA care about plankton?

Although they are small, these little organisms are very numerous and play an extremely important role for our planet. They produce a lot of oxygen on Earth. but that is not all! When plankton dies, the carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) it absorbs is left with it and sinks to the bottom of the water. It is thus kept out of the atmosphere for a period, which helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. This is called a natural carbon sink.

What is the mission?

Some species of plankton feed on fish, but others can be dangerous because they are toxic. It is therefore important to be able to distinguish between different types of plankton to ensure that fishing and swimming, for example, are safe. That's exactly what this mission is trying to do! We want to differentiate between good and bad types of plankton, to know where they are found and when they are there!

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What is your most surprising discovery?

I learned that a type of plankton needs darkness at night. Just like humans, if they don't sleep in a dark place, they will have more difficulty resting. It will be affected even the next day. Kind of like when you're tired because you didn't sleep well during the night!

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About the Author: Octávio Florencio

"Evangelista zumbi. Pensador. Criador ávido. Fanático pela internet premiado. Fanático incurável pela web."

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