Solar Spacecraft To Help Ships Avoid Whales

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June 21, 2008


The Telegraph tells us of

A spy plane designed by Nasa will help track whales in the Mediterranean to try to prevent collisions between the giant mammals and ships.

Around 10 whales every year hit ships in the channels around the Cetaceans Sanctuary of the Mediterranean, a 40,000 square mile reserve that stretches from the coast of Tuscany in Italy to Toulon in the south of France, and includes the whole of Corsica and the northern coast of Sardinia.

Sperm whales, fin whales, pilot and grampus whales and common dolphins all thrive in the reserve. The prevailing east-west current in the area acts as a vortex, sucking up plankton from deeper waters.

However, around 5,000 ships a day now pass through the waters and five whales every year are killed. Under plans drawn up by the universities of Turin, Genoa and Montpellier, an intricate system of sensors will float in the reserve and track the movements of whale pods.

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