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Drone Helicopter on Mars Carrying Piece of History; Past and Present Flight; Flooded Part of Australia Changed Landscape; Conservationist in Brazil Reconnects Fragments of Rainforest. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired March 26, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Past and present, lift off together as we get off the ground with the story about flight. You know what that means? Flight

days are awesome. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10. Right now, NASA has several active missions to Mars, orbiting the planet, observing the planet, roving

the planet.

The most recent arrival is the $2.7 billion Perseverance mission. It`s got a drone helicopter on board that`s carrying a piece of human history.

First, the helicopter, it`s called Ingenuity. It`s about 2 1/2 feet tall, weighs four pounds and costs $23 million to develop.

It`s not carrying any scientific instruments. Ingenuity`s purpose is to see if powered helicopter flight is possible on the red planet and NASA

says it won`t do that until at least April 8th because the chopper has to undergo a series of tests before it can try to lift off.

If that works though besides making history, the drone is also carrying it. It`s got a tiny piece of the Wright Flyer aboard. This is the first powered

and controlled airplane that people ever built. In 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew four separate flights on Flyer One near Kitty Hawk, North

Carolina. In contrast to the small Ingenuity drone, the Wright Flyer had a wingspan of more than 40 feet and a length of more than 21 feet.

It was built from wood, canvas, aluminum, steel and iron and it weighed 605 pounds. As a sort of tribute to that flight, scientists took a bit of

fabric that covered the Wright Flyer`s wings. A small piece the size of a postage stamp and attached it to a cable underneath the Ingenuity drone`s

solar panel.

It`s not the first time NASA has done this for a space flight. In 1969, a piece of the Wright Flyer`s wing fabric and a splinter of wood from the

historic aircraft was traveling aboard the Apollo 11 mission when it flew to the moon and back.

Back on solid but sodden ground, many people in the eastern Australian state of New South Wales are looking forward to a partly cloudy weekend

forecast. The weather systems that brought tremendous rain and record- breaking floods to the state have moved into the Tasman Sea. But the threat hasn`t gone away for some communities as the high waters continue to flow

through river systems and keep certain areas flooded for the time being.

Australia is no stranger to severe weather, but this week`s flooding sent spiders scurrying into homes. Snakes slithering in the trees and waterfalls

emerging in historic and dry landscapes.


CHRIS JAMES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey Carl. This is one of my favorite parts of the week, getting to research some of the most beautiful and interesting

places around the world to take you and our friends here at CNN 10. So, for today`s virtual field trip I am taking you all the way into the land down

under, to the spiritual center of Australia.

Welcome to Uluru. It`s known around the world for its ever-changing red hues against the backdrop of Australia`s central desert. A desert which is

usually extremely dry. But this week after heavy rains poured throughout northern Australia for nearly a week, this incredible and rare footage

emerged of waterfalls at Uluru.

Stacy McGregor (ph) who works for a local tour country posted these images to our Facebook and told CNN that he`s lived and worked in Uluru for over

four years and he`s never seen waterfalls or rain like this. The area typically receives around 13 inches of rainfall in an average year but

recorded nearly two inches on Sunday and Monday of this week alone according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Uluru is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, standing at 1,142 feet high it`s taller than the Eiffel Tower. For decades people around the globe

would come here to climb this incredible natural structure but this is no easy hike.

Weather here is punishingly hot and the landscape is often quite windy and slippery. At least 35 people have died here since climbing started in the

1950s` but only a lucky few people have been able to visit Uluru recently. As tourists have been prohibited from actually climbing the sacred site

since 2019.

The Anangu Aboriginal people, part of the native population of Australia, said it was being destroyed by tourists permanently wearing down it`s

surface and polluting nearby water holes. Here is to hoping the glory of Uluru will be preserved for generations to come. Back to you Carl.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. According to the United Nations, 31 percent of the earth`s land area is covered by what? Forests, deserts, lakes or ice.

Though deserts cover about 1/3 of the land, forest cover just under that at 31 percent.

Deforestation and reforestation are next today. The major cause of forest reduction in South America is the intentional clearing of land. This can be

done for wood, to expand cities or road projects or to develop more farmland. The Atlantic Forest which runs from northeast Brazil down the

country`s east coast into Paraguay and Argentina covers only a fraction of the land it once had. But a conservationist is working to reconnect some of

it`s fragments.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I really love about being in the forest is seeing the size of the change we can really make. Is it really possible to bring

all that forest back?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nori Collin (ph) has dedicated his life to restoring the Atlantic Forest in Brazil after witnessing the destruction of his


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The western San Pablo Atlantic Forest range used to be a very, you know, green, continuous beautiful landscape. What used to be 100

percent of forest cover is now only two percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Decades of deforestation have led to a significant reduction of one of the world`s most diverse habitats. All that remains of

the forest are isolated fragments. This means many species are now under threat as they no longer have the ability to disperse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wildlife, especially, you know, jaguars, puma, axolotls. They are very isolated in these small forest patches. They cannot

see each other. That`s when we started having problems of inbreeding depression that can kill the local population in a very short term.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Collin (ph) and his team use a targeted approach to forest restoration, taking what`s left of the fragments and planting in

corridors. These proposed corridors aim to connect the fragments and act almost like an express highway for local species.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (inaudible) is putting priorities for where the forest should really be to make sure we put the right corridors in the

right places.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To date, Collin (ph) and his team have restored 3,000 hectors of forest and tell us they have already seen at least half of

native species using them including some animals at most risk of extinction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today it`s already possible to see the (inaudible) families -- the -- the families of these real monkey by themselves using

some of the forest corridors that we have put back. If we just keep them going, the survival of this very endangered species will be OK in the long


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Collin (ph) is motivated by both the community and climate benefits to reforestation. (Inaudible) accomplishments represent

the transformation, but his is much personal as it is (inaudible).


AZUZ: If you give an aspiring engineer enough PVC pipe, 2x4s, sandbags and cinderblocks and then you work for a few weeks, it`s amazing what he can

build. At least it is if he`s Ben Holiday (ph), a Georgia student who constructed a thrill ride in his backyard.

We don`t know how much the materials cost but we do know it works and that is mother is proud though she says she`s looking forward to getting her

yard back. It would be to her "amusement" and she will not find it "thrilling" if he dips, dive, turns, rolls out and "coasts" off to college

while leaving a construction project "on track" in her yard.

He may ask why "wooden" you want it. But if she`s "fielded" her determination not to have her yard "marred" by a "twisted" venture. She may

not let that train leave the station until the "coast" is clear. Shout out to Antilles High School today, the "Pirates" arrrrrrrg watching in Fort

Buchanan, Puerto Rico. Have a great weekend everyone. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN.