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Blue Dot: ECOSTRESS and Mono Lake

Mono Lake from orbit.
Mono Lake from orbit.

Host Dave Schlom checks out the findings from a new NASA instrument flying aboard the International Space Station called ECOSTRESS. The instrument provides data on how water (and the lack thereof) is affecting our planet's vegetation and soils. Guests are Principal Investigator Simon Hook and Science Lead Kerry Cawse-Nicholson. They explain the science and the practical applications, which are especially beneficial for assessing wildfire risk and agricultural water use.

In the second half of the show, we focus on Mono Lake and how it is being pummeled by both the drought and the drawing off of water from its tributary streams by the city of Los Angeles.

San Francisco Chronicle environment reporter Kurtis Alexander talks about his investigation of how alkali dust, being exposed as the lake level drops, is leading to some of the worst air pollutions in the nation and Mono Lake Committee Executive Director explains some of the environmental challenges being faced by the ancient, saline eastern Sierra lake.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.