Crew for Second HI-SEAS Mission Announced – Next Extended Simulation of Mars Exploration Begins March 28

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has announced the crew for the second mission of the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program. The next extended simulation of Mars exploration here on Earth begins March 28.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

“The upcoming mission is focused on the social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time,” said Kim Binsted, associate professor at UH Mānoa and principal investigator for the next three HI-SEAS missions planned for 2014 and 2015.  “Hawai‘i provides a unique setting to simulate the challenging conditions for human exploration to Mars. We have selected a strong crew for our next four-month study.”

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

HI-SEAS crew members were required have “astronaut-like characteristics,” including the ability to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination and undergraduate training as a scientist or engineer. The youngest crew member is 26; the oldest is 60 years old.  Like the astronaut mission specialists they represent, each participant is expected to bring a significant research project or other scholarly work of his or her own to complete while inside the space analog habitat.

The six crew members and the reserve (alternate) member are:

  • Ross Lockwood – A PhD candidate in condensed matter physics at the University of Alberta. Ross is from Winfield, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Casey Stedman – An officer in the US Air Force Reserve. Born in Vermont, Casey now considers Washington his home.
  • Ronald Williams – Director of the Neuropsychology Department at Fort Wayne Neurological Center, Indiana. Ron holds a PhD in Neuropsychology and is from Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Tiffany Swarmer – Research assistant studying human factors and performance for long-duration space missions at the University of North Dakota’s Human Spaceflight Laboratory.  Tiffany was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
  • Lucie Poulet – A PhD candidate at the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center.  Lucie designs hybrid lighting systems for greenhouses to enhance plant growth and is from the Lorraine region of France.
  • Anne Caraccio – A NASA researcher developing a method of turning waste from space missions into useable gases for fuel/propulsion, environmental control, and life support systems. Anne is from Bellmore, New York.
  • (Reserve crew member) James Sakai, a mechanical engineer and Captain in the US Army Reserve, is from Rupert, Idaho.

During the upcoming study, researchers from outside of the HI-SEAS habitat will monitor the six crew members isolated inside the solar-powered dome at a remote site at 8,000 feet elevation on the slopes of Mauna Loa.  The researchers will evaluate the crew’s communications strategies, crew workload and job-sharing, and conflict resolution/conflict management approaches to determine the most important factors for the success of a long-duration space mission.

Food inventory by Sian

Food inventory by Sian

This mission follows on the heels of a successful 2013 Mars food study, which simulated the experience of astronauts on a real planetary mission and compared two types of food systems:  crew-cooked vs. pre-prepared.

More information, photos, and full biographies for the 2014 crew members are available on the HI-SEAS website at  Members of the media can download high-resolution photos from the previous HI-SEAS mission at:

For more information, visit:


Volunteers Needed to Malama Maunakea

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is seeking community volunteers to participate in its monthly “Malama Maunakea” campaign to protect the mountain’s fragile resources.  Community members are encouraged to sign up for open volunteer days – Saturday, April 19; Saturday, June 7 or Saturday, July 26.

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

“Our overarching goal at the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to malama Maunakea. Taking care of 12,000 acres is a daunting task, but with collaborative community partnerships we can accomplish much,” stated OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “We are so thankful to the school groups, service organizations, Chambers, individual and families of volunteers who give of their weekend to take care of Maunakea.”

The invasive species weed pulls throughout 2013 proved to be quite successful with 236 participants volunteering 1,747 hours, pulling 363 garbage bags of invasive weeds on eight separate occasions and also planting 200 Maunakea silversword.

The Saturday weed pulls concentrate on eradicating the invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) along the Mauna Kea Access Road and around Halepohaku at approximately 9,200’ elevation.  The fireweed pulls help keep this invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea and reduce habitat for invasive insects.

The Malama Maunakea volunteer day begins at 8 am.  For Hilo-based volunteers, transportation to and from Hilo is provided. For West Hawaii volunteers, OMKM will help coordinate ride sharing. Upon arrival at Halepohaku, the volunteers are given a project orientation and allowed time to acclimate to the high elevation. Invasive weed pulls focus on the area along the Mauna Kea Access Road near Halepohaku. A brief tour of Maunakea resources completes this fulfilling day on the mountain.

Who can help? Everyone, including families and kids under parent supervision, student groups 16 years of age and older, community members, visitors, are all welcome.  Space is limited. To volunteer or for more information contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email:

Mauna Kea Human Remains Identified as Missing Man

Hawaiʻi Island police have identified human remains discovered last week at a remote location at the 12,000-foot elevation of Mauna Kea.

A view from a window inside the visitors information center

A view from a window inside the visitors information center

The remains were identified through dental records as Brian Patrick Murphy of Plymouth, Michigan, who was 67 when he was reported missing from that area in December 2007.


Countdown: Mars Food Mission Researchers Return to Earth

The countdown has begun.

Six researchers who have spent more than 100 days inside a remote habitat to simulate a long-duration space journey are finally returning to Earth.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

About 700 applicants vied for six spots in the HI-SEAS mission, which began in April and will conclude on August 13.  These Earth-based researchers have been living and working like astronauts, including suiting up in space gear whenever they venture outside a simulated Martian base and cooking meals from a specific list of dehydrated and shelf-stable food items.

HI-Seas Crew Photo by Ian

HI-Seas Crew Photo by  Sian

The HI-SEAS study, led by Cornell University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, is analyzing new types of food and novel food preparation strategies to keep astronauts well-nourished for space exploration.  The work is funded by the NASA Human Research Program.

Food inventory by Sian

Food inventory by Sian

The food study is designed to simulate the living and working experience of astronauts on a real planetary mission and to compare two types of food systems – crew-cooked vs. pre-prepared – as thoroughly as possible in the context of a four-month Mars analog mission.

Add ins for Tsampa photo by Sian

Add ins for Tsampa photo by Sian

“One possible solution to handle menu fatigue would be to allow astronauts to cook their own food instead of eating pre-prepared food day after day,” says crew member Angelo Vermeulen, one of the six researchers inside the HI-SEAS habitat, which is located on the Big Island.

Night Light Dinner photo by Sian

Night Light Dinner photo by Sian

At the end of the study, researchers will announce the winners of the HI-SEAS recipe contest.  Winning recipes in a number of categories will be featured on the HI-SEAS website.

Four Wheeling photo by Sian

Four Wheeling photo by Sian

The public is invited to follow along with the “Meals for Mars” videos, researcher blogs, and test recipes featured at or on Twitter (@HI_SEAS) or Facebook.


Update on the Human Remains Found on Mauna Kea

Around noon on Tuesday, July 30, a Native Hawaiian Cultural Hiking group (Huaka’i I Na ‘Aina Mauna – Those who travel or explore the High Altitude Lands) on a “huaka’i” (trip or pilgrimage with cultural, environmental and spiritual components), located human remains that may resolve the mystery of a male hiker missing since 2007.

Image from a NASA Expedition I did back in 2009

Image from a NASA Expedition I did back in 2009

The team of hikers traveling near the summit of Mauna Kea about half a mile from 13,000 foot elevation Lake Wai’au (a “wahi pana” or sacred site), came across bones scattered over an extended area. A physician among the group, Dr. Baron Kaho’ola Ching, M.D., realized the bones were not from animals known to frequent the area. Then a collar bone and pelvic bone was found, the latter included an artificial hip replacement.

When the group realized it was human remains, a Hawaiian elegy (uwe) prayer was performed for the deceased. There is hope among the Hawaiian cultural practitioners that there will eventually be a proper burial for the person and peace and closure for the family. A group member made calls notifying the authorities, who will visit the site on Friday, August 2. The remains were left undisturbed as the group continued with their huaka’i, with deeper reverence for Mauna a Wakea. The group will continue its activities on the mountain through Saturday, August 3.

A member of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance Board of Directors was also among the cultural participants.


Human Remains Found on Top of Mauna Kea

Hawaiʻi Island police received a report Tuesday (July 30) of human remains that had been discovered at a remote location at the 12,000-foot elevation of Mauna Kea.

On Friday, police conducted a check of the area with the assistance of officers from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and a ranger from the Office of Mauna Kea Management. They located the human remains.

Detectives are conducting checks to determine identity of the remains.

University of Hawaii Takes Over Legal Ownership & Responsibility of United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Mauna Kea

In May 2012, following a review process, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) announced that it would cease supporting the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on 30 September 2013.


Photo by Tom Kerr

In October 2012, the Director UKIRT issued a global Announcement of Opportunity, soliciting for a new entity or partnership to take over the operation of UKIRT. This strategy has proved very successful: 13 Expressions of Interest were received, and after further discussions, two groups are currently developing full proposals.

In parallel with these developments, the University of Hawaii (UH) has agreed to take over the legal ownership of UKIRT and responsibility for the site on Mauna Kea when STFC-funded operations cease. This is a significant and very welcome initiative from our UH colleagues. The existing sub-lease for the UKIRT site will be terminated and UH expects to set up a scientific partnership with one of the two proposing parties to operate UKIRT.

In view of the time required to terminate the sub-lease and set up a partnership agreement with a new operating entity, STFC will extend UKIRT operations to 31 December 2013. This extension will enable both a positive outcome for UKIRT and an additional three months of science observing for the UK community. The science programme for this incremental period will be determined by the UKIRT Board.

Free Carcasses – DLNR and Division of Forestry Conducting Animal Control Activities on Mauna Kea

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will conduct animal control activities specifically for trapping mouflon/feral sheep hybrids, staff hunting, and/or aerial shooting from helicopters within palila critical habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A), palila mitigation lands, and the Kaohe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawaii for feral goats, feral sheep, mouflon and mouflon/feral sheep hybrids.

Just a goat!

Just a goat!

Aerial shooting is required for compliance with the federal court order mandating the removal of sheep and goats from critical habitat for palila, a bird endemic to Hawaii.

Control schedules are July 15 and 16, Aug. 28 and 29, and from September 3 to 6, 2013.

Public access to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, palila mitigation lands, the Kaohe Game Management Area and Mauna Kea Hunter Access Road will be restricted and allowed BY PERMIT ONLY for animal salvage purposes on the following dates:

7 a.m. July 15, 2013 – 7 p.m. July 16, 2013
7 a.m. Aug. 28, 2013 – 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 2013
7 a.m. Sept. 3, 2013 – 7 p.m. Sept. 6, 2013

These actions are pursuant to Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 13-130-19 and 13-104-23(a)(3). The Mauna Kea Observatory Road will remain open.

The temporary closure is needed to minimize the dangers of incompatible uses in the forest area and safely conduct animal control activities. To implement the closure, both the Hale Pohaku and Kilohana gated entrances to Unit A and G and the gate behind Mauna Kea State Recreation Area will be locked/reopened as follows:

Locked 7 p.m. July 14, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. July 16, 2013
Locked 7 p.m. Aug. 27, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. Aug. 29, 2013
Locked 7 p.m., Sept. 2, 2013, and reopened 7 p.m. Sept. 6, 2013

Copies of the map illustrating the area subject to aerial shooting on these dates are available for inspection at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office.

Due to high public participation, telephone call-ins to the DOFAW Kamuela Office at (808) 887-6063 for receiving salvage permits will be conducted from 9 a.m. July 10, 2013, to 10 a.m. the day before each shoot day. One permit will be issued per call per vehicle for one day only. Applicants can have their names added to a stand-by list for additional days, should all slots not be filled by other applicants. No standbys waiting at the gates will be allowed access. The driver, occupants, vehicle license plate, and make/model of vehicle are needed when calling in. A maximum of 15 permitted vehicles will be allowed at the Puu Koohi location and 10 permitted vehicles at the Kaluamakani location.

Carcasses taken during the shoot will be available to the permitted public for salvage at the following locations (4-wheel drive vehicle are required, and access permits will be issued). There is no guarantee that animals will be able to be salvaged.

Salvage locations are subject to change:

  • On Sept. 3 and 5, 2013, at Puu Koohi. Permittees must meet at Mauna Kea State Park at 7 a.m. sharp.
  • On July 16, Aug. 28 and 29, and Sept. 4 and 6, 2013, at Kaluamakani. Permittees must meet across from the Waimea Veterinary office on Mana Road at 6 a.m. sharp.

Contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221 or in Kamuela at (808) 887-6063 for additional details regarding meat salvage or access permits.

Mary Begier and Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce Presented With Community Hero Awards

Hawaii Invasive Species Council Recognizes Commitment to Malama Mauna Kea

Hawaii residents and visitors alike appreciate the wonderful diversity of life in the islands.  Invasive species however, threaten this diversity and are both harmful to the environment, economy, or human health; and are not native to the area where they are a problem.

Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week is intended to increase awareness of such concerns among visitors, residents, elected officials, and other community leaders while recognizing the outstanding contributions coming from all segments of society in protecting Hawaii from invasive species.

Senator Malama Solomon and  Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon and Mary Begier

Senator Malama Solomon presented Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce with the 2013 Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) Community Hero Award in a ceremony on Monday, March 4th during the first annual Hawaii Invasive Species Council Award ceremony at the State Capitol Auditorium. The Community Hero Award recognizes a community member or community based group that has been a shining example of dedication to prevent or manage invasive species.  Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber shine brightly in their commitment to help support the Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM),  University of Hawaii at Hilo in  its efforts to implement the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

The CMP is an integrated planning tool for resource management for the UH Management Areas on Mauna Kea including the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and the Summit Access Road.  During the approval process of the CMP, Begier and the Chamber pledged to become more involved in community-based stewardship of Mauna Kea and assisted the OMKM  by rallying its members with a call for volunteers for invasive weed pulls beginning in March 2012.  Thus launching OMKM’s community invasive species control program.
In 2012, the invasive weed pull program included over 110 volunteer days totaling more than 800 volunteer hours removing several hundred bags of invasive weeds  (fireweed, mullein, telegraph weed, and others)  from the mid-level facilities at Hale Pohaku and along the summit access road corridor.

“Stakeholder participation is critical to our programs to malama Mauna Kea and is an effective tool to help us manage the resources within UH’s managed lands on Mauna Kea. Mary Begier and the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce have supported our efforts  from day one. When we started the discussion on engaging volunteers, they quickly pitched the business community and helped us raise awareness and understanding in addressing invasive species management issues,” said Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata.

“The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce members volunteer and collaborate as advocates for those things that make Hawaii Island a great place to live,” said Vaughn Cook, HICC President. “Mary is one of those members who gets involved and keeps us all mindful of our community commitments.  As a chamber, we supported the development of the CMP. Mary’s determination to help the University of Hawaii successfully manage their lands on Mauna Kea quickly spread and today, many Hawaii Island Chamber members continue to volunteer and kokua Mauna Kea.”

In total, more than thirty-seven statewide nominations, including individuals and organizations were submitted for the 2013 HISC Awards. Mary Begier, and Office of Mauna Kea Management Director Stephanie Nagata attended the award presentation.

2012 Sea to Stars – Hardest Hill Climb in the World

Endurance cyclists have a new race to add to their bucket list with slots remaining for the 2012 Sea to Stars cycling expedition on Saturday, August 11 – the hardest hill climb in the world.

Those up for this epic life-changing challenge will depart from the oceanfront Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows and cycle to the Mauna Kea Visitors Center riding a distance of around 49 miles and climbing to 9,300 ft elevation.

Mauna Kea earns the distinction of the world’s tallest mountain from the sea floor (30,000 ft tall), higher than Mount Everest which stands at 29,000 ft.

With a steepness grade of more than 17 percent, Sea to Stars has been billed one of the toughest hill climbs in the world.

After the race, shuttle buses will transport cyclists back to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows for an outdoor recovery after-party party and BBQ.

An awards ceremony will recognize the overall male and female winners and a range of prizes will be up for grabs.

The Mauna Lani Bay is offering Sea to Stars competitors an accommodation offer with rooms starting from $199 per night.  The hotel is located on three miles of pristine shoreline and is recognized as one of the “World’s Top Earth-Friendly Getaways” by Conde Nast Traveler.

For more information and to register visit Sea to Stars.

To stay at The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, official host hotel of Sea to Stars, visit or call (800) 367-2323.

WHAT: Sea to Stars Cycle Race

WHEN: Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 9 a.m.

WHERE: From The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows to Mauna Kea Visitors Center

COST: $95


Lake Waiau on Top of Mauna Kea

The hike to this fresh water lake on Mauna Kea is about 3/4 mile one way and is surrounded by spectacular views.

Lake Waiau on Mauna Kea

The only sound is that of the wind.

Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 13,020 feet (3970 m) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaiʻi. It is the seventh highest lake in the USA  (higher than Lake Titicaca), and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawaiʻi. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the water level rises and falls. At high water levels a small outlet stream appears at the northwest end, but it is absorbed into the ground after a short distance. The name means “swirling water” in Hawaiian, though it is usually rather placid. It usually freezes in winter, but aquatic insects such as midges and beetles can be found breeding in the water.

The Transit of Venus… The After Party

I’d like to personally say thanks to Andrew Cooper over at The Darker View for providing live commentary from the Keck Telescopes up on Mauna Kea today of the Transit of Venus.

I was truly watching the broadcast on and off all day and I think Cooper and the Keck’s coverage was much better then the actual NASA footage of the event.

If “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”… I’m wondering when it will be the guys day for some serious exposure?  All us Martians are pretty jealous of the Venutians!

Here are screen shots I took from the Keck Website today:



Video – Understanding the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

Near the center of Pasadena, California, a team of scientists, engineers, and project specialists is busily planning and designing what eventually will become the most advanced and powerful optical telescope on Earth. When completed later this decade, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will enable astronomers to study objects in our own solar system and stars throughout our Milky Way and its neighboring galaxies, and forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time.

A 30-meter telescope, operating in wavelengths ranging from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared, is an essential tool to address questions in astronomy ranging from understanding star and planet formation to unraveling the history of galaxies and the development of large-scale structure in the universe.

Blackhawk Helicopter View of Mauna Kea

I found this video of a Blackhawk Crew Chief 15T lifting off from Pohakuloa Training Area on Mauna Kea pretty unique because we don’t normally get a view of this part of Mauna Kea because it’s restricted from tour helicopters.

The caption on the clip that was uploaded last month stated:

Flight from PTA on the big island of Hawaii headed back to Oahu.

Animal Control Aerial Shooting From Helicopters to Happen Next Week

DLNR-DOFAW will conduct animal control activities, specifically aerial shooting from helicopters, within Palila Critical Habitat in the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Unit A) and Kaoe Game Management Area (Unit G) on the island of Hawaii for feral goats, sheep, mouflon/feral sheep hybrids from February 21 – 22, 2012.

Public access will be restricted and allowed by PERMIT ONLY.

Please read full announcement for all details.

Current Status of Hawaii Island’s Volcanoes Presented in Kona

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 1912–2012 Centennial—100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes

The current status of Hawai‘i Island’s active volcanoes and how they are monitored will be the topic of a Volcano Awareness Month program in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday, January 11.

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory uses a variety of ground- and satellite-based techniques to monitor Hawai‘i’s active volcanoes. Here, an HVO scientist sets up a portable GPS receiver to track surface changes during an island-wide survey of Hawai‘i’s volcanoes.

Mike Poland, a volcanologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will talk about Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Mauna Kea in an informative and engaging presentation in the Kealakehe High School Cafeteria, 74-5000 Puuhulihuli Street, in Kailua.  A campus map is available online.  His talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:00 p.m.

Hawai‘i Island is home to five volcanoes, four of which have erupted within the past 10,000 years.  Poland will provide updates on the status of these “active” volcanoes, with particular focus on recent events on Kīlauea, which has been erupting almost continuously since 1983.  He will also talk about how HVO scientists monitor Hawai‘i’s active volcanoes.

According to Poland, Hawaiian volcanoes are among the best-monitored volcanoes in the world.  “Since its founding in 1912, HVO has been at the forefront of developing, testing, and implementing cutting-edge monitoring tools and techniques,” he said.  Poland’s presentation will include an overview of the state-of-the-art techniques now used by HVO to track magma movement within the currently erupting Kīlauea and to watch for changes within the presently-quiet Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Mauna Kea.

This presentation is one of many programs offered by HVO during Hawai‘i Island’s third annual Volcano Awareness Month (January 2012), and in celebration of HVO’s 100th anniversary. For more information about Poland’s talk, and other HVO Centennial and Volcano Awareness Month events, please visit the HVO website or call (808) 967-8844.

Maurella Meets Pele – Going on a Lava Tour with Kristina Anapau and Lava Ocean Adventure Tours

Local “True Blood” celebrity Kristina Anapau has been back on the Big Island during this holiday season and she has been getting a chance to do more stuff on the island now that she has more then a few days on the island.

Kristina Anapau at the County of Hawaii's Magic of Christmas Celebration

The other day she had the opportunity to go check out the Gemini Astronomy Center up on top of Mauna Kea and today she got invited to go on a lava tour with Lava Ocean Adventures.

Captain Shane and Kristina

We arrived at Isaac Hale park at 5:00 this morning and signed in with Captain Shane Turpin and then we were off for our adventure.

Getting ready for the tour at Isaac Hale Park (Pohoiki)

The newspaper was correct in their statement this morning:

…”Compared to the past two nights, the flow field and ocean entry plume seemed quite inactive yesterday afternoon and overnight,” geologists wrote in their daily activity update, posted Thursday morning. “The webcams picked up no surface activity on the pali, weak, sporadic surface flows near the coast, and a weak ocean entry plume generated by lava entering the ocean at the West Ka’ili’ili lava delta within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.”

The lava flow may be reached by foot from the national park side, by tour helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft, or by one of the tour boats that provide viewing opportunities along the coast

While the lava wasn’t pumping as much as the last time I visited… there were still at least three lava fingers entering the ocean while we were down there.

Pele meets the ocean

One thing about Pele is that you never really know how much lava is going to be flowing into the ocean until you actually get out to the site as the flows can stop and start at anytime.

Picture taken a couple of days ago from Lava Ocean Adventures Facebook page

Captain Shane mentioned that just a few days ago… there was much more lava visible then there was today.

Lava enters the ocean

Here is a video of the flow from last week:

Recorded on the south shores of the Island of Hawaii Saturday morning, December 17, 2011. Video shot from a boat without any stabilization can tend to roll around a bit … so I kept it short so you won’t get seasick :)

The volume of surface lava being sent from fissures at Pu`u O`o Crater through insulating tube systems seven miles south to the ocean changes daily, but yesterday I went by boat to witness this. For more information on how to see the lava by boat and to see some of the still images that I took there, go to my Hawaiian Lava Daily blogspot website.

I’d like to thank Captain Shane for taking us out there and providing us with a great seat at the back of the boat where we were allowed to stand up and get an even better view of things.  Mahalo Shane!

To learn more about Lava Ocean Adventure Tours or to book your own tour click here.


Lt. Governor Brian Schatz – “Why China Matters to Hawaii”

Aloha everyone,

Media from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou visited Hawai‘i this summer and heard the message that Hawai‘i is a great place to visit and do business.  They saw our world class observatories on Mauna Kea, visited cutting-edge health sciences and energy projects, and enjoyed our beautiful environment and warm hospitality.
As a result, millions of people have seen positive stories about Hawai‘i, in newspapers, on television and on computers throughout China.
This is part of this administration’s overall effort to build a strong relationship with China.  China matters to Hawai‘i.  Here’s why:
China is becoming an important market for Hawai‘i.  Chinese visitation is growing by double digits every year and these visitors stay longer and spend more than visitors from other markets.  Governor Abercrombie recently welcomed the first direct flight from Shanghai, and we are working on securing additional direct flights from China. This will mean more jobs, more tax revenues and more opportunities for Hawai‘i’s businesses.
High-end Chinese consumers are attracted to the Hawai‘i “brand” and want authentic, top quality agriculture and other products.  Working with the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, buyers will come to Hawai‘i in a few weeks to select local products for retail markets in major cities across China.  Local companies now have an opportunity to export locally produced products to an enormous new market.
Chinese officials here and in China have expressed to me a keen interest in our clean energy projects.  There is ample opportunity for partnership in this area whether it’s deployment of electric vehicles or other clean energy technologies.  In fact, several of our local renewable energy companies, particularly in solar, already have business partnerships with Chinese entities.
With APEC coming up, interest in Hawai‘i has never been greater, and so we are working hard to build the long-term relationships that will strengthen our economy for the next generation.


Brian Schatz
Lieutenant Governor

UFO Caught on the Canada-France-Hawaii (CFH) Telescope on Mauna Kea?

*UPDATE* Please read Andrew Cooper’s explanation in the comments below.  This should clear everything up.

Someone pointed me to this video that the Canada France Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea captured on July 10th of this year and asked if I could explain the light that shoots across the screen near the bottom of the screen at the 1 minute and 24 second mark.  I really don’t have an explanation for it other then the fact that it’s definitely unidentifiable to me.  Can anyone else identify this Unidentified Flying Object (UFO)?

No… I don’t think the aliens are out to get us!

The CFH observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6 meter optical/infrared telescope. The observatory is located atop the summit of Mauna Kea, a 4200 meter, dormant volcano located on the island of Hawaii. The CFH Telescope became operational in 1979. The mission of CFHT is to provide for its user community a versatile and state-of-the-art astronomical observing facility which is well matched to the scientific goals of that community and which fully exploits the potential of the Mauna Kea site.

The Observatory headquarters are located in Waimea (also known as Kamuela by the US Postal Service), where CFHT has been part of the community since 1977. Waimea is a small country town of 6,000 nested at 2,500 feet in the saddle between the Mauna Kea dormant volcano and the Kohala mountains. Named by the 2000 Robb Report as one of the 10 most desirable places to live in the United States, it has retained its 150-year old Paniolo (cowboy) culture but also offers many conveniences of modern life. Along with its green pastures grazed by cows, horses, sheep, and goats, Waimea hosts excellent schools, a modern hospital, the Kahilu Theater, shopping centers, over a dozen restaurants, and more!

Syd Singer on The End of the Senseless Slaughter of Sheep and Start Saving the Palila Bird

Commentary by Syd Singer:

Syd Singer

I am writing you about a serious problem which you can help solve!  It means saving birds and wild sheep from extinction.

The photo below shows dead sheep rotting on the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.  Helicopters armed with government paid eradicators shooting at wild sheep with assault weapons, all for the alleged purpose of trying to save the finch-like endangered palila bird from extinction.

Picture sent in by Syd Singer

Unfortunately, killing the sheep is not helping the birds, despite 30 years of sheep carnage that has reduced their population from 40,000 to less than 300 today.  They will soon all be wiped out if we don’t stop this useless slaughter.

The sheep are being killed to prevent damage to the mamane tree, the seeds of which are food for the endangered bird.  But killing the sheep and growing more mamane has not helped the palila bird recover. In fact, weeds that had been controlled by the sheep are now tall and dry as the sheep are killed, creating a fire hazard that can destroy the palila habitat altogether.

We need to find some way to help the palila bird without needlessly exterminating every last wild sheep in Hawaii.  It’s time to call a halt to the sheep eradication experiment and do some new research into what can really help the palila, as well as the nearly extinct Hawaiian wild sheep.

Please go to this petition and sign it.  Then send it around to all the compassionate friends and contacts you have.

Together, we can end the senseless slaughter of sheep and start saving the palila bird.

Thank you, from those who really need your help.

Sydney Ross Singer

Director, Good Shepherd Foundation