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Whale Monitoring

NASA plans Satellite Launch to study Earth's Magnetic Field
Associated Press, November 3, 2000

The second satellite to be launched, SAC-C, is a joint venture of NASA, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, France and Italy. SAC-C carries 11 scientific instruments designed to study such targets the Earth's surface features, atmosphere and magnetic fields. One instrument is designed to receive signals from tracking instruments being attached to whales. John Labrecque of NASA said the Argentina whale experiment is designed to monitor the migration of the Franca Southern Right Whale, a large ocean mammal hunted almost to extinction by whaling ships before it was protected by international agreement in 1935. Labrecque said tracking instruments will be attached to whales by divers. When the whales surface to breathe, the instruments will contact the global positioning satellite system and record the animals' geographic positions. When the SAC-C satellite makes its daily pass over the South Atlantic, the instruments on the whales will upload the data to the satellite, which will relay it to scientists in Argentina for study. A series of such readings will enable researchers to monitor the whales' migration.