Lost In The Forest: February 8, 1998

Our tasks at Camp 41 are divided into two areas: there is the content of the project, the real science itself, and then the technology of bringing it to to life and to YOU as a virtual field-trip. The content of the project will include stories, interviews, video of the scientists and their work. For example, Geoff and Flavio’s early-morning hike with Ellen is to gather content and Brian and Ann will go out later with Marcela to do the same.

John Diamond, pictured at right, checks the “look angle” of the satellite.

Just as important, however, is the technology that will deliver the content. Along with this Web site, the field trip will include the live television programs in April. These three programs will be broadcast to the United States and throughout Brazil via satellite. It is John’s job this morning to test the feasibility of using Camp 41 as a base from which to uplink the signal to the communications satellite. If it works, Camp 41 would be a remote location for the live TV broadcast.

There are two main issues: whether the heavy equipment and antenna needed for satellite communications (and we’re talking several tons here!) can be transported to the camp, and whether there is a big enough clearing in which to situate the antenna so it can point to the satellite. It’s not an easy task; the art of achieving communications from remote sites via satellite is a story all to itself.

John’s recommendation? Unfortunately, his judgment is that Camp 41 won’t work. It would be difficult to transport and power the satellite equipment, but most importantly, the beautiful, tall trees surrounding the camp obstruct the view of the satellite itself. It’s ironic—the undisturbed rainforest is what we’re here to show you… but it won’t let us! (But, don’t worry: we found a GREAT alternative, which will let you see even more of the Amazon forest and its river system.)

Ann’s Journals Lost In The Forest    1     2     3     4