PASADENA, Calif. >> Scientists say the Martian soil at the rover Curiosity’s landing site contains minerals similar to what’s found on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano.
The finding released Tuesday is the latest step in trying to better understand whether the environment could have been hospitable to microbial life.
Curiosity recently ingested its first soil sample and used one of its instruments to tease out the minerals present. An analysis revealed it contained feldspar and olivine, minerals typically associated with volcanic eruptions. Mission scientists say the Martian soil is similar to volcanic soil on the flanks of Mauna Kea.
Curiosity landed near the Martian equator in August on a two-year mission. It’ll be another month before it drills into its first rock. Then it’s expected to head toward a mountain by year’s end.
Haleakalā National Park recently celebrated the highest number of volunteer hours in park history at a volunteer awards ceremony. Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum and park staff honored 375+ local citizens, students, professionals, teachers, cowboys, life guards, and retired park service personnel who donated over 20,000 hours of time in fiscal year 2012.
In FY 2012, 377 volunteers donated their time and talents with projects including repairing and hauling trash from cabins, restoring native ecosystems, and providing education and safety information through interactions on trails, in visitor centers, and at special events. Service groups such as the Friends of Haleakalā and the Pacific Whale Foundation removed 39,000 weeds from the park. Park service retirees Ted Rodrigues and Ron Nagata led groups who contributed several thousand hours in back-country sanitation, trail repair, and weed removal.
This year, the park graduated 35 middle school, high school, college, and college graduate interns from the mainland and around the state. Students ages twelve to twenty-five gained conservation skills, such as identifying endangered birds like the `Ua`ū(the Hawaiian Petrel) and Nēnē goose. College students and graduates learned about climate change, public education, park facilities, Hawaiian culture, and botany while on the job. Students came away with an appreciation for the park’s fragile biological and cultural heritage and the many career paths available to them.
“One of the most rewarding aspects is seeing interns return to Haleakalā as employees helping with visitor safety, educating the public, and working with our endangered plants and wildlife. They also help teach a new generation of interns about conservation,” said Superintendent Creachbaum.
Since 1999, volunteers have contributed 214,000 hours of service to Haleakalā.
Conservation partners, including the Hawai`i Pacific Parks Assocation, the Maui Invasive Species Committee, Kupu, Maui Economic Opportunity, and University of Hawai`i Maui College, were recognized for protecting the park’s biodiversity and supporting student interns.
Double-digit increases in visitor expenditures across the four major islands and Moloka‘i for September contributed to an increase of $1.7 billion, to $10.7 billion, in year-to-date spending over 2011. While arrivals increased at a slower rate than recent months, we were extremely pleased that the pace of expenditure growth has not weakened.
As we head into the fourth quarter, we anticipate the momentum to continue with increases in airlift thanks to new routes by Hawaiian Airlines from Sapporo and Brisbane, Jetstar from Melbourne, and Allegiant from the West Coast, including a Bellingham to Kahului flight. These new routes are all servicing secondary cities, which will provide greater ease of access for visitors to come to the Hawaiian Islands. Festivals and events, including the EA Sports Maui Invitational, will also help to draw visitors this quarter.
In September 2012, increased daily spending (+9.8% to $203 per person) and arrivals (+2.4% to 161,721 visitors) elevated Maui’s total visitor expenditures (+13.3%) to $241.2 million. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+1.7% to 81,249) and Japan (+13.1% to 6,860) offset lower arrivals from U.S. East (-1.7% to 40,736) and Canada (-4.2% to 9,115).
Total visitor expenditures rose 19.8 percent, compared to year-to-date 2011, to $2.7 billion. Of the 1,730,468 visitors to Maui (+5.6%) through September 2012, 61.9 percent stayed there exclusively.
We are encouraged by the growth we have seen in expenditures and arrivals for the year so far, and remain committed to working with the industry and our global marketing partners to achieve our overall targets of $13.9 billion in expenditures and 7.9 million visitor arrivals by the end of 2012.
Construction workers damaged a waterline along Baldwin Avenue in Paia leaving customers from Skill Village to Paia School without water service from approximately 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Water service has since resumed; however, pressure may be lower than usual for a short time.
As a result of the water outage, the Department of Education has closed Paia School for the day.
Department of Water Supply (DWS) personnel are working on waterline repairs that affect traffic in two areas:
· Makaala Drive in Waiehu is closed from the intersection with Hilinai Street (north side, closer to Waiehu Beach Road) to the intersection with Kilihau Street. The road is currently closed and should reopen by 1:00 p.m. today.
· Wakea Avenue in Kahului will be closed from the Hoohana Street intersection to the Hukilike Street intersection from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. today.
Motorists should follow signage and use detours. Customers are asked to call the DWS 24-hour service line (270-7633) only if a water problem occurs.
The second person to be canonized into sainthood for work serving the victims of disease during Kalaupapa’s darkest days is “on tour.”
A relic of St. Marianne Cope begins a five-day tour of Maui County this morning at St. Theresa’s Church in Kihei and culminate Saturday with a procession down the pali trail to Kalaupapa for events in the village where she served leprosy patients for more than three decades.
Today at 9:30 a.m., Saint Theresa’s Church in Kihei will host the relic – a tiny chip of bone from the hip of the saint. While non-religious people might find that idea slightly morbid, it is a custom in the Catholic Church that tiny fragments of the mortal body of a person who has achieved sainthood serve as powerful reminders of their existence. Faiuthful do not “pray to” the fragment. The long-established practice allows a moment of visual connection to remind the faithful of the reality of saintly people.
St. Marianne, who was canonized in Rome on Oct. 21, took over the work of caring for leprosy patients in the community after St. Damien died shortly after her arrival there. She cared for residents of Kalaupapa for 30 years beginning in 1888 and died there at age 80 in 1918.
Her remains were exhumed from her grave site in Kalaupapa in 2005 and taken back to the Motherhouse chapel of her Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Hawaiian Islands tour of her relic began on Oahu the day of her canonization.
The public tour has reached Maui County and the schedule follows:
Tuesday — St. Theresa, 9:30 a.m., Maria Lanakila Church, Lahaina, 2 p.m.; Christ the King, Kahului, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday — Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, Kula, 8 a.m.; St. Joseph Church, Makawao, noon; Holy Rosary Church, Paia, 3:30 p.m.; St. Anthony Church, Wailuku, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday — Sacred Hearts Church, Lanai City, 10 a.m. There will be an Anointing of the Sick, 1 p.m., and Mass, 4 p.m.
Friday — (Topside on Molokai) Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Church, Kaluaaha, 10:30 a.m.; St. Joseph Church, Kamalo, 11:15 a.m.; St. Damien Church, Kaunakakai, 6 p.m.
On Saturday, Bishop Larry Silva will greet the relic at the bottom of the pali trail to Kalaupapa at 9 a.m. From there, the relic will be taken to St. Philomena Church, the Baldwin Home, the landing and Judd Park in Kalawao.
Morning prayer is set for 10:30 at St. Elizabeth Chapel and Mass at St. Francis Church at 11 a.m. in Kalaupapa. A prayer of aloha will be said at 4:30 p.m. at Kalaupapa Airport.
The relic will end up at its home at Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace on Oahu after an event at Iolani Palace the next day.
In addition to the viewing of the relic, which will be visible in the box with a glass top, there will be performances of “November’s Song,” a play about St. Marianne. Performances of “November’s Song” will be held to coincide with the relic’s visit to Maui County. It will play today at Maria Lanakila at 7 p.m.; at St. Anthony, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m. and at Sacred Hearts on Lanai, Thursday, 3 p.m.
(Portions of this report provided by The Maui News)
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