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Mission to Planet Earth
First aired live Tuesday April 7th, 1998, 13:00 Eastern

(check local PBS and NASA-TV listings!)
All sequences subject to flood and rainfall!

If you weren’t able to see the Live Broadcast you can view archives of the event.

Download the RealPlayer to view these archives.

Rainforests and Planet Earth

Graphics, aerials, and scenes from around the world show why rainforests are found where they are...

The Amazon, a region of superlatives

The river, the rainforest, the people, plants, animals and insects of the largest expanse of virgin forest left on the planet. (Teacher Script: should tie in nicely with Activity A.3!) The Amazon may not be the longest river on Earth, nor this the hottest or even wettest place... but this sequence should sure be beautiful as well as instructive!

Getting There...

the planes, boats, bumpy roads and 4-wheel drives, bug- spray, hammocks, field camps and logistical support it takes to explore the rainforest. (Producer Script: see some of the people and places you’ve been reading about online!)

...and Getting the Video Back

How the TV and Internet gets sent back by satellite from the heart of the rainforest to schools and students at home in North America and all across Brazil: an exercise in space-age telecommunications (Teacher Script: Watch for some MATH extensions!)

Portrait of a Rainforest

Timelapse, close-up and personal... a detailed introduction to the organisms and processes of the rainforest, focusing on frogs (which are one of the few species to bridge the worlds of land and water), leaf-cutter ants (one of the few species to make a living both up in the canopy and underground) and epiphytes (air plants living in mutualistic relationships with their tree hosts.)

The Field Researchers

Claude Gascon, scientific coordinator, and a man in love with frogs... Rita Mesquita, expert on the processes of forest growth and regeneration, and committed to getting city kids involved, and Herald Vasconcelos expert on leaf- cutters, and head of INPA’s Manaus ecology department.

Real Time Interactions

From a boat on a tributary of the Rio Negro... and from an observation tower high in the canopy... with on-camera and online answers from rainforest experts in the Amazon and at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C (be sure to get Tom Lovejoy to participate!) Students on camera in New York, Texas and in Brazil, do hands-on science, interact with the researchers, ask questions and get answers back Live From The Rainforest.