Much of Lord Howe Island has been closed to non-essential visitors due to an outbreak of myrtle rust, a highly contagious plant fungus.
Lord Howe Permanent Conservation Park, which covers about 70% of the World Heritage-listed island, has been “temporarily closed to all non-essential visitors with immediate effect,” Lord Howe Island Council said.
Myrtle rust was discovered on the island on 3 February. According to the council, despite continued treatment and preventive fungicide spraying, weekly sweeps revealed three more infested sites, two of which were located about 230 meters from the boundary of the permanent park-reserve.
Myrtle rust infects plants myrtle a family that includes eucalyptus trees, paper barks, and tea trees. The fungus infects flower buds and new shoots, affecting the ability of plants to photosynthesize.
There are concerns that myrtle rust may affect myrtle species endemic to the island, including mountain rose (Metrosideros nervulose), scaly bark (Syzygium fullagaria) and the Gnarled Moss Cloud Forest, an endangered forest that tops Mount Gower, the island’s highest mountain.
The fungus produces thousands of spores that remain viable for up to three months and are easily spread by wind, rain, and on clothing, skin, hair, shoes, and equipment.
“Due to the increasing risk, the closure of the permanent park-reserve is being carried out to prevent spread as a result of human activity,” the message says. “Rust can change the look of our mountains and forests, it can change food webs and ecology, and potentially affect world heritage values.”
The authorities held an information session on Thursday evening in the island’s public room with experts from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Commodities Industries Department.
The board did not provide a timeline for the reopening of the reserve, noting that “the closure will remain in place until there is confidence that the necessary hygiene measures can be applied consistently and effectively…and maintain a manageable level of visitation.”
Professor Robert Park, director of the Australian Cereal Rust Program at the University of Sydney, said myrtle rust was first detected in Australia in 2010 on the central coast of New South Wales.
“Rust is one of the most feared of all plant pathogens – it is rapidly spread thousands of kilometers by wind and can cause huge losses in crop production,” Park said.
“Myrtle rust has quickly spread across the east coast of Australia and has led to the disappearance of at least three types of tropical forests. It was discovered on Lord Howe Island in 2016 and extirpated, but has now managed to spread there again. This second invasion clearly shows how incredibly difficult it is to fight rust diseases when they are introduced into a new region.”
Operators on the island are keen to emphasize that while the reserve is closed, other activities are still open to tourists.
“We remain open for business with the exception of some activities,” said Stephen Sea, treasurer of the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association. “There are many more places that visitors can visit … The territory of the settlement itself is quite pleasant for walking, and that’s all  the beaches are open and people can still swim.”
Sarah Shields, media manager for Capella Lodge, said: “Walking in the parks is a big part of the island’s activities, but this time of year… you’ll be spending a lot more time in the water.
“March is indeed the peak time for Lord Howe Island in terms of maritime activity.
“The priority for the island at the moment is to stop the widespread spread of myrtle rust … We support that [the island board] do [but] we would also like the board to find a way for businesses to coexist while the board is looking into this matter.
“It’s like Covid is visiting the island again – exactly three years ago we closed the island.”
The permanent park reserve, which also covers Ball’s Pyramid and the islands adjacent to Lord Howe, was established in 1982 to protect the region’s biodiversity. 241 species of native plants grow here, of which more than 100 are found only on the island.
The Board of Directors of Lord Howe Island was contacted for comment.
New technologies are key to helping NASA achieve its long-term research goals for the benefit of all. To support its efforts, the agency announced on Thursday that it will create two new institutes to develop technologies in the critical fields of engineering and climate research.
Venus is almost the same size, mass and density as the Earth. Thus, it must generate heat within itself (due to the decay of radioactive elements) at almost the same rate as the Earth. On Earth, one of the main ways this heat escapes is through volcanic eruptions. On average, at least 50 volcanoes erupt annually.
But despite decades of searching, we haven’t seen clear signs of volcanic eruptions on Venus – until now. New research geophysics Robert Herrick University of Alaska Fairbanks, which he reported this week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston and published in the journal Sciencefinally caught one of the planet’s volcanoes in action.
It is not easy to study the surface of Venus because it has a dense atmosphere, including a continuous cloud layer at an altitude of 45-65 km, which is opaque to most wavelengths of radiation, including visible light. The only way to get a detailed view of the ground above the clouds is to use a radar pointing down from an orbiting spacecraft.
A technique known as aperture synthesis is used to create an image of a surface. This combines the varying strengths of ground-reflected radar echoes, including the time delay between transmission and reception, as well as small frequency shifts corresponding to whether the spacecraft is approaching or moving away from the source of a particular echo. The resulting image looks like a black and white photograph, except that the brighter areas generally correspond to rougher surfaces, and the darker areas generally correspond to smoother surfaces.
NASA’s Magellan probe orbited Venus from August 1990 to October 1994 and used such radar techniques to map the planet’s surface with a spatial resolution of about a hundred meters at best. It showed that more than 80 percent of the surface is covered in lava flows, but how the youngest of them erupted recently, and whether any eruptions are still ongoing today, remained a mystery for the next three decades.
NASA has revealed the spacesuits that astronauts will wear on the Moon for the upcoming Artemis lunar missions, which will see the first woman and man of color reach the surface of the Moon.
“We haven’t had a new suit since the suits we designed for the Space Shuttle and these suits are currently in use on the space station – so for 40 years we have been using the same suit based on this technology. . said Vanessa Wych at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, at a March 15 press conference.
The new suit, built by private company Axiom Space for NASA, is designed to operate in the harsh environment of the moon’s south pole, where temperatures average around -13°C (9°F) but can drop hundreds of degrees. lower in craters in permanent shadow.
It will also have improved mobility over previous suits, weigh 55kg, about 25kg lighter than the suits worn by the Apollo astronauts, and have more custom joints for a greater range of motion. Since the suit has so many hinges, it is not easy to take it on and off. Astronauts will need to crawl through a hatch at the back of the suit to enter.
The suit also features a panel of lights above the helmet for working with instruments and scientific instruments in low light, as well as a high-definition camera so people on Earth can watch what the astronauts are doing.
Photos posted by Axiom Space show a suit with a black outer layer designed by Esther Marquis, costume designer from the Apple TV+ sci-fi series. For all mankind in Axiom brand colors. The suits worn on the Moon will be white to reflect heat and keep the astronauts at the right temperature.
If all goes according to schedule, NASA’s Artemis 3 mission will land the first woman and person of color on the moon in 2025. Historically, space exploration, especially on the Moon, has been done almost exclusively by white men. Until last year, for example, the specific radiation risk for women had never been studied.