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CNN 10

Reports On Future Of California`s Giant Sequoias; Unique Science Experiment; Auction Record Set By A Copy Of The U.S. Constitution. Aired 4- 4:10a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz delivering one of two shows we`re producing this week before we go on break for the Thanksgiving

holiday. Welcome one and all to CNN 10. We start today`s show in California`s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, the only place on Earth where

giant sequoia trees naturally grow and forest scientists say some of these very trees have been alive for thousands of years.


CLAY JORDAN, RANGER IN SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN RANGE: Before ancient Rome, before Christ, I mean these trees were --were mature."


AZUZ: One big reason why many have survived that long is because in the past, they`ve been able to withstand the wildfires that are common to this

part of the world. Their 200-foot height canopies stretch above the flames. Their think bark protects them close to the ground, and milder fires

actually help these trees reproduce because the heat causes their cones to release new seeds. The problem is the size and intensity of some recent

wildfires in California have been overwhelming for thousands of giant sequoia trees.


SAM HODDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SAVE THE REDWOOD LEAGUE: A giant sequoia that was first weakened by drought was then subject to impacts by the bark

beetle, which then further weakened the tree and potentially made it more susceptible to mortality from fire.


AZUZ: Conservationists have seen hope on the forest floor with many baby giant sequoias sprouting up in the months after the fires, and there are

some steps people can take from controlled burning of forest vegetation to the removal of other trees and brush to protect the mature sequoias of the

Sierra Nevada. But a conservationist interviewed by CNN and the Denver Channel says the restoration work that needs to be done would costs

billions, and in the meantime the danger remains.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We`re on a hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but this is a tour of sequoia destruction.


large sequoias. It`s a big number to me.

ELAM: That`s 3 to 5 percent of the remaining monarch sequoias in the world according to a preliminary report by the National Park Service, killed in

the K&P Complex fire that churned through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and the Windy Fire further south. And that big number is on top of

an even larger loss of mature sequoias last year in the Castle Fire, part of the Sequoia Complex, that wildfire eviscerating 10 to 14 percent of the

world`s giant sequoia population.

Brigham says this means in just the last two years, up to a 5th of mature sequoias, trees that have stood for at least 1,000 years if not more have

been lost to wildfire. It`s a conflicts of concerns these scientists never thought they would see. The threat made worse by another year of drought,

leaving the sequoias dry and vulnerable.

GARRETT DICKMAN, BOTANIST, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: That means its water source has been there for over 2,000 years. That that water`s not there

means that the climate and the world around it has changed.

ELAM: But lessons learned last year helped save some sequoia this year.

BRIGHAM: Before the Castle Fire, we had never seen losses of large trees like we had in that fire, 7,500 to 10,600 large sequoias lost in a single

fire event, and that really changed what we decided we were willing to do to protect trees if we could.

ELAM: And what they were willing to do called for innovation in the face of fire. From literally throwing what they could at the threat like sprinkler

systems that spray trees 35 to 40 feet in the air, and dropping fire retardant gel from aircraft into hard to reach groves, to extreme tree

hugging. Swaddling some of the world`s largest trees like General Sherman and General Grant in structure wrap.

BRIGHAM: We had hand crews going in and doing this, kind of, raking and fuel removal around individual trees and groves. We did backfiring

operations to change fire behavior.

ELAM: But the loss of any sequoia, such rare and majestic beauties is one too many to lose.

BRIGHAM: It is dead. That tree is dead. It is not coming back. This tree is at a minimum 1,000 years old, and has survived many, many, many previous

fires and should have lived another 1,000 to 2,000 years, is dead, is gone.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What do Hermes, Icarus and Vesta have in common? Are they all car models, characters of Greek mythology, asteroid names or

tire brands? Vesta was a character in Roman mythology but these are all the names of asteroids.

There`s another one named Didymous zipping through space. It has its own tiny moon, what NASA calls a moonlet orbiting around it and that moonlet

will be the target of a new NASA mission. It`s called DART for short. It includes a spacecraft that`s set to launch sometime between this Tuesday

night and February 15th. It`s scheduled to near Didymous` moonlet next fall and after it does, the plan is for a spacecraft to smash right into it.

Why do this? The goal, astronomers say is to nudge the moonlet. The planetary society says that all goes according to the plan, the collision

will push the moonlet slightly closer to Didymous and shorten its orbit around the asteroid by a few minutes. You can think of this as a type of

high tech science experiment taking place almost 7 million miles away. Estimated cost, somewhere around $320 million, here`s why NASA`s doing



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a space story seen several times in the movies, like in the 1990 sci-fi film Armageddon.

BRUCE WILLIS, ACTOR: The United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody want to say no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An asteroid threatens Earth, the military, astronauts, even oil rig drillers try to save mankind. Some cities don`t make it, but

in the end the planet survives. A Hollywood ending which NASA is hoping to make a reality with its first planetary defense test mission. Scientists

say they have identified the kilometer wide asteroids like those shown in the blockbusters and there are no dangers of them hitting Earth in the

coming centuries. But NASA says it wants to study what could be done if an Earth threatening asteroid is discovered.

On Wednesday it will launch a mission called DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, that will send an unmanned spacecraft into space and if

successful it won`t be returning home. DART is set to launch aboard a Space X Falcon 9 rocket and will travel through space for the next nine months.

Its destination a near-Earth asteroid named Didymous and its moonlet.

NANCY CHABOT, DART COORDINATION LEAD: These asteroids are not a threat to the Earth. They are not a danger to the Earth. They are not on a path to

hit the Earth in the foreseeable future. That makes them appropriate target for a first test.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traveling at a speed of 6.6 kilometers a second, DART will then deliberately crash into the moonlet to try to jolt it from its

regular orbit. Scientists back on Earth with monitor the collision using satellite imagery and ground based telescopes to see how much the moonlet

changes course.

ANDY CHENG, DART COORDINATION TEAM: If one day an asteroid is discovered on a collision course with Earth, and we have an idea of how big the asteroid

is and how fast its coming and when it will hit, that kind of information. Then we will have an idea how much momentum we need to make that asteroid

miss the Earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The targeted moonlet is a little larger than one of the pyramids in Egypt. NASA says there are 10,000 known asteroids that are just

as big or bigger that could potentially cause major regional damage if they ever hit the Earth. Although none of them are tracking this way. DART`s

kamikaze mission could provide lifesaving data if anything ever does get too close.


AZUZ: A new auction record has just been set for the most money ever paid for a book, printed text or historical document and the historical document

that set it is a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution. The original was handwritten and not for sale.

You can see it at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., but of the 500 copies that were printed in September of 1787 just 13 of them are known to

survive, and this one was estimated to fetch between $15 and $20 million. However, after a bidding war, the CEO of an investment company won the

auction with a $43.2 million bid, he reportedly plans to loan it to a museum.

Not every executive would have the power to spend that, not everyone with the money would have the "constitution". Is the sale a "preamble" to more

auction records. Those can always be "amended" and "documented". And this one will be preserved for posterity, it makes sense though that the record

would set a record.

It`s fitting for one of the oldest surviving documents of the oldest surviving governing document. I`m Carl Azuz. West Morton High School gets

today`s shout out. It is great to see you, our viewers, in Berwyn, Illinois. We have one more show to go before we`re off for the Thanksgiving