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Exploration Through Navigation Challenge
Welcome to the Fall 2008 NASA Quest Challenge Webcast

Exploration through Navigation logo

During this Challenge, students will first be tasked to chart a course from the Big Island of Hawai’i to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) using ocean navigation skills that were used in early Polynesian exploration.

During this webcast students will meet Kälepa Baybayan Polynesian Captain and Navigator of Hawaiian deep-sea voyaging canoes and learn more about this art that lives on. This is a good time to ask questions relating to polynesian navigation.

The times of the webcast will be: 9 am Hawaiian, 11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern
and 1900 GMT. Please be sure to check your ability to watch video live. Don't be left out due to missing software or fire walls at your school. See below to see if you can receive an archive, or go to the "how to" page for help.

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Transcript of Webcast:

>> Good morning and welcome to our fall 2008 NASA Quest challenge.
Our topic this fall is titled exploration through navigation, voyages across space and this is part one of the challenge focusing on charting the course at sea.
So today we're going to talk to you about how ancient Polynesians charted their course at sea before we had modern techniques such as a global positioning system or compass.
The purpose of our webcast today is to introduce you to some of these methods and the format we'll follow we'll tell you about the NASA LCROSS mission and we'll have our resident navigator from Hilo, Hawaii of methods he's used at sea and we'll open it up to a Q and A session for you to ask questions to help you in this challenge process.
So the challenge as the webcast goes on we want you to submit your questions.
Linda will be fielding those and we'll begin asking the experts questions and getting answers for you.
I want to begin by opening up to the LCROSS mission itself.
Today we have Brian Day with us.
He's the education and public outreach lead for the LCROSS mission and he's coming to us from Ames in Moffet Field, California and he'll tell you about that mission and how it connects into the challenge we're starting this fall.
Brian.

>> Thank you very much, Rebecca.
First -- this is one of several quest challenges involved with the LCROSS mission and if we could switch to our slides now.
LCROSS stands for lunar crater sensing satellite and this is one of our next missions to the Moon.
The purpose of the LCROSS mission is to look for deposits of water ice on the Moon.
Water ice will be a very important resource for people when they end up living on the Moon.
That's the exciting thing.
We're planning to have people living on the Moon in one of our first lunar outposts probably sometime in the 20 20s.
There are permanently shadowed craters at the poles of the Moon.
Craters where the sunlight never shines on the floor of that crater.
It's been very dark and cold in those craters for billions of years.
We think that's a great place where water ice could possibly have accumulated.
The LCROSS mission is going to look for that water ice with a two-part system.
The first part is the centaur upper stage of our Moon rocket.
A great big upper stage is a massive two tons and it's the rocket that takes out out of Earth orbit and sends us to the Moon and we'll use it later on as an impactor to excavate one of those craters and dig up and see if there is, in fact, any water ice there.
The
Other component is the shepherding spacecraft and that's what will guide and target the centaur toward that crater and it carries the instruments on board to measure the material that we excavate from the crater and see if there is any water ice there.
The LCROSS spacecraft will launch along with another spacecraft called LRO, the lunar reconnaissance orbiter in 2009.
They'll launch together on a single Atlas five rocket out of cape Canaveral.
Shortly after reaching Earth's orbit we'll go out of Earth orbit toward the Moon.
Just a couple hours after launch LRO, the lunar reconnaissance orbiter will separate and continue on its own mission to the Moon.
LCROSS will remain attached to the centaur upper stage and five days after we launch, we'll do a swing-by of the Moon and use the Moon's gravity to swing us into a very highly inclined orbit around the entire Earth/Moon system.
We'll spend a few months doing this.
These great big looping orbits.
The idea being that when we meet up with the Moon again, we'll do so coming in at a very steep angle relative to the Moon's pole.
About nine hours before we get to the Moon, we will separate from the centaur upper stage and pull away from it so that we're following about four minutes behind it.
So our little robotic L-cross spacecraft will be following four minutes behind the centaur upstage.
The centaur with a mass of two tons will hit the floor of one of those permanently shadowed craters at 5600 miles-per-hour.
Faster than a speeding bullet.
Creating a huge plume of debris.
We'll observe that impact from the instruments on board the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft.
It will have a bird's eye view and in the next four minutes it will descend through the plume of debris and sampling it and letting us know if there is water ice and if so, how much.
The plume created by the centaur as well as the plume created by the shepherding spacecraft when it impacts will be observed from great observatories on the surface on the Earth such as those in Hawaii, from the Hubble space telescope in orbit around the Earth and spacecraft like the lunar reconnaissance orbiter in orbit around the Moon.
But a big question that is involved here and one that we're going to be talking to you folks about, is how do we get from the Earth to the Moon?
Navigation has been a challenge that humans have faced for many centuries.
Now, when we leave the realm of the Earth, things like magnetic compasses and GPSs don't work anymore.
So navigation becomes a really interesting problem.
Now, this is not a new problem that we're facing.
As a matter of fact, humans have faced this for centuries and have become very, very good navigators going across the Pacific ocean without the benefit of magnetic compasses and GPSs.
They've had some very innovative techniques and you'll be learning about those more in this challenge.

>> Well thank you, Brian.

>> Thank you.

>> That gives you a connection to the NASA mission how it's connected to this challenge.
We're going to transition here in a moment to the Polynesian voyaging aspect of the challenge.
First I want to direct you to our educator guide.
Hopefully those of you who have registered are already going through this guide and using it as a tool to help you learn about the different techniques and today Kalepa will be focusing on some of the techniques in the guide.
This is a nice resource for you the teacher to use as you and your students go through the challenge together.
Next I'll introduce Kalepa Baybayan coming to us from Hilo, Hawaii.
His biois online so check the quest website and learn more about him.
We'll let him tell us about himself in the Hawaiian language and we'll talk about some of the techniques that he as a navigator has used to voyage the Pacific ocean.
Welcome,

>> Aloha, welcome from Hawaii.
The word aloha is made up of two parts.
One ALO means the space in front of a person's body which HA means breathth.
To stand in each other's presence and share the most sacred part of what we see the person's being to be, which is his life force which is expressed through his breath.
I have been a navigator with the Polynesian can ues stationed in Hawaii.
I started when I was 13 years old learning and I am the resident navigator at the Astronomy Center in Hawaii.
We have a canoe named guiding star.
There are five large voyaging canoes in Hawaii.
What makes ours different is we deliver our programs in the medium of the Hawaiian language, so welcome.
Rebecca if you're ready we can start to move into some of the questions as to why our Polynesian ancestors moved out into the Pacific.

>> Yes, go ahead and tell us what was the motivation behind their exploration and why they decided to voyage out into the Pacific ocean and find there were islands out there and the cultural reasons for that.

>> Okay.
Why don't we just move ahead into the slide show and I'll just cue you up when we need to change slides.
So let's move into our first picture.
The next slide.
So when you look at these islands in the south Pacific, they're paradise.
There needs to be a really large question as to understanding what factors motivate people not just to want to find these islands but why would you want to sail away from them.
Early researchers argue that the reason why Polynesians moved from island to island was famine, maybe overpopulation, drought, warfare where the losers would have to leave the islands but as researchers have -- as they began to explore that question about motivations for people leaving islands, they found that these arguments weren't compelling enough.
We know that through archeology at the times that Polynesians were oshianic people in the south Pacific was moving across the Pacific ocean.
We can advance the slide, please.
We know there really wasn't a large population densities to support the theory of famine or drought or warfare and we know that they moved across the Pacific in these highly capable canoes that they made of resources that they were able to find on their own islands to create these really sea worthy craft.
Next slide, please.
Archeology today tells us that ocean moved from west to east.
The prevailing trade winds blows from east to west.
Archaeologists tell us it was settled from Indonesia, Taiwan and moved into the face of the prevailing trade wind.
The question is how and why did they do this?
We know that at the time that the ocean levels were really -- during the ice age when there wasn't -- there was much larger land bridges that people originally migrated into the western part of Indonesia.
When the sea levels rose again there was a period of 40,000 years of isolation and when the ocean people pushed back into the ocean one of the principal trades they were the sea faring farming traders and used their seafaring skills to trade tools between the islands.
The winds go from east to west but they go through yearly wind reversals and so they would wait for the wind reversals to occur which would allow them to sail with the wind eastward.
They kept sailing and exploring out of curiosity like the human population exploring are curious people.
They got to an island that was into the area of the prevailing trade wind and found it wasn't inhabited and they knew that if they kept sailing upwind, they would keep on finding more and more islands that were uninhabited.
Next slide, please.
But probably the most compelling reason was for oceanic people was PREMOGINATOR.
The oldest sibling of the lot would get the inheritance of the land and rights of the clan.
The younger siblings, if they wanted ownership of property or control of the clan the only way they could do that was to go out and sail and find their own islands which would allow them to acquire their own property.
And lastly the last slide here in our understanding the reasons why is that we know these people were -- sailed extensively and they've done it in the canoes that they found on the islands made out of their own resources but captain cook when he arrived in Hawaii in 1778, when the 3,000 canoes surrounded his ships, he listened to the language and having sailed across the Pacific and met islanders in the south Pacific he wrote in his log book these islanders here speak the same language as the people in Tahiti and he asked the very large question as to how could these islands have come to be settled by a people who spoke the same language and he recognized back then that these are great explorers but it posed a large question as to how they did this.
And that's our idea of why.

>> Thank you, Kalepa, now we understand why these people were exploring the ocean, the vast ocean at that, we need to understand what tools they used.
We know that centuries ago they didn't have a magnetic compass, they didn't have a global positioning system like we do in modern day navigation.
What kind of tools did these explorers use to navigate the seas, which are so much different than navigating on land.

>> Well, you know, they -- the question of what, let's look at how they first built these canoes and let's bring the camera back to me.
Next slide, please.
And again as I alluded to, these people were greater planners and strategists in the art of voyaging.
They not only built their canoes out of the tools made of stone and shell, but they also had to outfit these canoes with the plants that they would need to survive or food they would need to survive on the ocean as well as the paths they would need for eventual settlement.
And then they had to train a crew to get out there and navigate.
Let's come back and talk about how they armed themselves and let me explain to you how I learned to navigate.
Their experience, these Polynesian settlers, was based upon their experience in life and what they were learning as they grew up on these islands.
Now, my teacher taught me that he said you have to look at the bird.
You have to look at the bird.
The bird, you know, as he flies throughout the horizon, maybe bring the -- switch camera to me, please.
Off the slide.

>> I believe what -- we can see you on our video.

>> Okay.
So the bird as he flies out into the ocean his head the pointing towards where he needs to go but then if you look at -- if you look at his tail also points in another direction and his wings make a right angle to the horizon, yeah?
So this bird constantly has an orientation toward the horizon and he flies and he's never lost when he's flying on the ocean.
He's always oriented to the horizon.
Now, what we do as navigators we see this bird and the canoe we sail on as being the same thing.
That the bow of the canoe points in a direction and the bow of the canoe points in one direction.
The stern of the canoe points 180 degrees away from the head.
The wings of the bird or the canoe point 90 degrees away and if you can align the bow of the canoe with a certain celestial body that you're saying towards you can orientate your canoe or bird but you don't need to see a celestial body that's ahead of the canoe.
You can use one that's at the tail or the stern of the canoe or on either wing or between the wing and the head or between the wing and the tail.
As long as you understand the relationship between the bird or the canoe and the different celestial bodies that surround the canoe.
Our compass we used to orient the canoe memorizes the rising and setting points of 110 different stars and with that, that understanding of knowing where these stars rise or set on the horizon creates this very accurate compass that allows us to sail our canoe pretty accurately and that's a skill that's both based on the tradition of the navigators of creating this as well as our understanding today as well as how astronomy works and how celestial bodies rise in the east, move across the sky and set in the west.
These different points where we see stars rising on the horizon, we call houses in our system of navigation that a star rises in a certain house and set in the same house on the western side of the horizon.
And that's basically the core concept to our -- the way our navigation works.
If we can go advance the slide.
Again so once these people built their canoes and outfitted it with the food that they would need for survival on these distant islands.
Next slide.
Again they would have to take plants for their survival on these distant islands which came in the form of seeds, roots or cuttings and lastly they would have to -- next slide.
They would have to train a crew and then get out there and make a voyage.
Okay.
Next slide.

>> Okay.
So Kalepa, if we understand they could use the canoe as the tool, as well as the rising and setting of the stars and the Sun and the Moon, then what other aspects of navigation did they use on their voyage?
How did they actually sail the seas and what time of year?

>> Okay.
We can go back to the slide and we'll answer your question about what and when.
Next slide, please.
Again, our concept then that we use, the grounding concept is this star compass because it allows us to orient ourselves.
Let's look at that practice and answer what kind of techniques do we use to navigate and when was the most appropriate time for voyaging?
Next slide, please.
Again, to just go back to the celestial bodies rise in the east and set in the west.
Now, once we leave shore, we begin -- the navigation begins.
You only know where you are on the ocean by memorizing.
There cannot be any period in a voyage when you don't have an estimate as to where you are because if you don't have an estimate as to where you are, if you're not memorizing each and every day the direction you're sailing in and how far along in that direction you've gone, you really don't know where you are.
You're lost.
Navigation starts from the time we leave the dock and pull anchor and we begin sailing.
We know that we navigate 24 hours a day, seven days a week until we find a land clue.
Now during the day we use our daytime star.
We know it as the Sun, right?
It rises in the east.
As the Sun is rising the navigator looks toward the distant horizon and he knows where on his compass the Sun is rising and then he begins to synthesize what he's visually seeing.
He looks at where is the big swells coming from in relationship to where the Sun is rising.
He has the Sun to give him a clue during the day and the swells.
Where is the wind coming from in terms of its relationship to the Sun and the swell and then how is he feeling that wind as it crosses over the canoe?
And then lastly as that canoe climbs over the swell, the swells are coming at a regular pattern creating a certain feel.
A certain rise and roll of the canoe that the navigator needs to internalize.
That rhythm becomes a clue to ensuring that the canoe is on course and then, of course, once the Sun sets and the stars come out it brings out the best -- the best time to navigate, which is at night.
Given that you have a clear sky.
Next slide, please.
Our strategy really at night is to have a certain set of navigation starts that we'll use for our trip.
And as -- I say we use 110 stars but quite frankly on a trip you may use a fourth of that.
And remember that although a trip is 30 days, once you leave and you're out on the ocean on your first night you'll use the same set of stars the next evening so the crew members get into the comfortable rhythm of following certain stars that they would steer along throughout the night.
Lastly when we start getting close to where -- we use the height or altitude of different stars as they cross -- as they rise and cross over the Meridian.
That being the line that runs north to south.
When it reaches that top of the -- when it gets to the Meridian we measure different stars that we use to determine latitude and we do that by using our hand.
We precalibrate our hands before we leave on a trip so our hands become these very accurate human body section.
And then lastly, next slide, please.
Again, the best season to sail in really is what -- as the navigator, whether you sail between Hawaii or Tahiti, you need to identify when are the seasons of bad weather, when are typhoons or hurricanes.
What makes it more difficult sailing between Hawaii and places to the south like Tahiti is that you are crossing between two hemispheres, the north and southern hemisphere so you have different hurricane seasons.
So you have to find the time period or the time frame on a global cycle where you can slide between the two hurricane seasons.
When we sail toward the south Pacific we usually want to leave Hawaii at the earliest would be the beginning of February, not later than the beginning of March.
And then we want to return to Hawaii in May or June before hurricane season kicks in during the month of July.
So that would be the time to sail south.
And then lastly, understanding all these things, next slide, you need to get out there and attempt a journey such as we've done for the past 30 years.
It is only through the practice of actually being out there in a very dynamic environment and applying these lessons of navigation that you really are able to expand upon your base of knowledge and it gives you extreme confidence.
Once you've executed a plan based upon the way you prepare it and you see that you get positive results and quite frankly with the way we train and the way we've prepared, we've been able to, next slide, we've been able to make every landfall that we've set out to -- again, as you sail south, the stars will tell you when you start getting close to land and then you start looking for the land clues that will lead you to land.
You'll see seaweed when you get close but the real definitive clue that leads you to land is these white turns that migrate back and forth to the island every day.
When you see three or four of them you know you ought to be within a 24-hour range of land.
Again, you know, if you are sailing between Hawaii and take -- Tahiti it will take you three to four weeks.
The stars change.
The southern sky gets higher, the northern sky gets below the horizon and when you get close to land you begin looking for the land clues, the birds and seaweed.
Once you find land, really the navigation is over.
Although what we're looking for in the south Pacific are the bands of small islands that screen the bigger islands of Tahiti located 240 miles north.
If you're successful at doing that, then like we were when we first voyageed in 1976, you get a happy arrival of a lot of new friends down in the south Pacific.
Thank you.

>> Thank you, Kalepa, that's wonderful.
Now that we understand some of the tools that you use and how a voyage is planned, can you tell us why these methods continue to be used if we have modern-day methods today, then why do the Hawaiian people and the Polynesian people continue to study the ancient methods and put them into practice?
What's the benefit of the application we can use in the modern world?

>> That's a very -- it's a question that needs a lot of reflection.
Personally for me because this is a cultural practice that really pointed to a human being's capacity to accomplish things in life, I was naturally compelled to take part in this kind of learning because it takes place in a very dynamic environment.
It gets me to apply decision-making skills.
It allows me to make connections between culture and science to bring relevance into my life today.
In Hawaii and the south Pacific there has been a resurgence of voyaging.
I think -- I think the reason why is such -- it's grown so rapidly here in Hawaii and the South Pacific is because it takes us back to a period when our ancestors were participating or taking part in something that we're participating in today.
It allows us to really sail down the same sea lanes, sea roads as our ancestors and allows us to connect to the same raw emotions that they felt.
And more than that, it allows us to understand our place in this world today and make connections to the academic sciences that enable us to become better navigators and again I would like to point out the fact that we've always made every single landfall that we've intended to sail towards and that's based upon our understanding of the tradition of oceanic navigation that is merged and married to academia.
Academia, the sciencess of astronomy, ocean on graphy and meteorology and made it very concrete and tangible and we know it works because we've participated in these many voyages and we've had real positive, successful results and there is quite a following here in Hawaii.
Thousands of people that have sailed aboard these canoes and taken part in the voyages.
Everybody that does after they get off a canoe they walk away from that experience a lot better person because they understand -- it is not just about -- it's about being on a deck of a canoe as this focused community and accomplishing something together as a group of people.
So these are really, I think, my reasons why I did it and it's real important for people in Hawaii and the South Pacific and why we continue to participate and build more canoes and create programs or ways of learning that take people into these dynamic environments on the ocean.

>> Thank you, Kalepa.
We're going to transition now to our Q and A session.
We have Linda joining us here over on the sidelines and she's fielding your questions.
So let's see, Linda, do we have any questions so far for Kalepa?

>> We sure do.
We have good questions and it shows that some students are already doing the work of trying to chart their own trips for this challenge.
We have a question here from Seana and she asks what direction does the wind blow off of Hawaii?

>> You know, the winds basically come from an easterly direction from where the Sun rises and moves across into the direction where the Sun sets.
Generally it moves from east/northeast direction.
If you were to go out while the Sun is south of the equator now so you stretch your hand from where the Sun rose and maybe a hand and a half from where the Sun rose, that's the direction the wind blows from in Hawaii.
It's pretty consistent.
It will move a few degrees north or south of that direction but it generally the pattern is it blows in the direction from where the Sun rose in the summer, yeah.

>> Okay.
Terrific.
We have a question here from Dillon in Georgia.
He asks, how old were you when you first became interested in Polynesian navigation techniques?

>> Well, you know, as a young child we have a very big history of how our islands are sailed and children grow up for those stories in mind.
At the time I was graduating from high school, our first voyaging canoe which would attempt a voyage and sailed to Maui, the island I grew up on and parked in front of my home.
Once I saw that out there resting at bay, you know, that was like the match that started my internal fire and I just -- I was just very fortunate to be born in a time when this was occurring and it really -- at that time it really -- I didn't see the -- I didn't understand what the future was going to be in my life or the life of that canoe but it has given me a direction that I wanted to move in and I was very fortunate to be living in a time when that occurred and 30 years now I've been practicing this art of navigating without instruments.

>> Okay.
Thank you.
We have a question here from Haley.
What happens during many nights with clouds and no stars?

>> That is a really good question.
I get asked that.
I find that if you ask the question to really young children, I get asked this question but adults, too.
What do you do if the night is cloudy or has been cloudy for several days?
What do you do if you're lost out in -- what's the safest thing to do?
If you don't know what direction to return in to get yourself back on track you stop, you know?
You have to stop, close your sails and you have to wait until the clues come back.
Because if you just keep on sailing blindly, all you are doing is getting yourself more lost.
Remember when I said you only know where you are by memorizing each and every second where you've gone.
That's the only way you can determine where you're at.
So if you're in a situation where you've been calm and it's overcast and there is no clues, then you wait.
You wait until the clues come back.

>> We actually had a question on how do you then continue to navigate during the day?

>> Well, you know, if it's cloudy and you really -- and there are no signs during the day because it's overcast and you can't see the Sun, then you would wait until it did clear and you saw the Sun.
But remember that during the day I talked about the many different clues that you use, the Sun, the swell and the winds.
You can keep on sailing even if it's cloudy at night if those other clues like the swell and the feel of the canoe remains constant.
Those are clues you can sail on to keep guiding your canoe.
But if it goes absolutely black at night and the ocean is flat and confused and the winds are switching around then you would stop and wait until you got some definitive clue that you could rely upon to get your canoe sailing again in the direction you choose to go as opposed to just wandering aimlessly in the ocean.
It is a logical progression.
Any student out there viewing this would probably have the same answers that a navigator would have just based upon logical progressive reasoning.

>> Terrific.
I have a question here from Thailand.
They are asking how do you find your guiding stars?

>> A lot of this is done beforehand in that when we're planning for it.
We've chosen a season.
Today astronomy or astronomy tools allows us to understand what stars are going to be present during the season we're going to navigate in.
So for whatever season or month we're going to be navigating in, we'll look at where the Sun is actually rising on the horizon, at what's its destination it's rising in.
We create charts of information as to the stars we want to use and where it's rising on the horizon and then we've memorized this information.
We have -- we're going to -- we look at the stars so the crew members get oriented and we go out into the real sky and practice star identification.
There are a number of tools out there through technology and science that allows us to get prepared and determine what stars we're going to navigate by.

>> Okay.
Wow.
Another question here somebody is working on their projects already.
Can you further explain what you mean when you say pre-calibrate your hand?
This comes from Georgia as well from Dillon.

>> Yeah.
Okay.
You need to take -- your hand needs to become a measuring tool.
You need to figure out how many degrees one hand span makes.
If I hold my hand extend it out how many degrees is it from my thumb to the top of my finger here?
That's one way to calibrate it.
Another way to is to turn your hand sideways and use your hand so the bottom finger is on the horizon and how many degrees is it between each finger?
And we have -- one of the tools that we use, we can calibrate our hand out in a natural environment because we can use the north star as an example.
The north star basically sits very close to the north celestial pole so here in Hawaii if you're on the equator, the north star is on the horizon because it is a 90 degree.
Every time we move north it moves a degree.
The north star is 20 degrees above the horizon in Hawaii.
We can calibrate our hand based upon knowing what the height of the north star is.
That's one way.
Another way which is -- requires some math and science is that you know what a survey tool is, right?
This tool that sits on a tripod where you measure degrees orange also.
What we did here in Hawaii was we took our survey to the mark on the floor of a room and we set this tool over it and we measured 50 feet away on a horizontal line and we measured 1 degree arcs up to 25 degrees.
We stuck the horizontal line and turned it vertical.
What that did is create the skill of one degree increments and then we would remove the sexton away.
We measured our hands up against this degree mark of 15 feet away.
What that allowed us to do is calibrate our hands.
This is something that is a little more advanced but it allows you -- it's how we calibrate the human body so that we've created this tool using the surveying tool and then we go out in the natural environment and watch different stars rise and as it crosses the Meridian and low enough to the horizon we use our hands to reestablish how accurate we've calibrated it.

>> Okay.
I hope that helps folks out with our measurements and star that's coming up just this week.
Actually two weeks, I believe.
Okay.
We have a question here from Haley that says did the early explorers understand the phases of the Moon?

>> Yeah.
Yeah, they did.
You know, really, people who lived in the he equatorial regions especially the Moon was more of a factor in their daily life than the stars.
Stars could tell you what seasons was happening and what things they should be planting but really they watched the Moon very carefully to tell them what kinds of practices they apply to living on the land.
In navigation, you know, we understand the Moon cycle goes through this 29 1/2 days orbit around the planet and we choose to use the moons in navigation really, the full Moon comes into play because of its ability to illuminate the horizon.
Normally when I go on a trip if I'm standing towards maybe a small island that I'm not familiar with that might be a danger to the canoe, I look at how many days it is going to take me to get there based on I think about my average speed is and the average speed of the winds in the area I'm sailing and when the full Moon occurs and I work myself backwards.
If it takes me ten days to get to an island, I want to leave ten days before the full Moon happens so when I sail there, when I get into the range of the islands I can navigate safely at night using the illumination of the Moon.
The moons are real important.
That's one way to use it, okay?

>> Super, okay.
We have several questions and I know you're very interested in Lynn -- linguistics.
How do you say your name?
And does the mark over the A effect the word?

>> Yeah, it does.
It changes the emphasis.
My name is pronounced Kalepa.
The movement that material makes when the wind blows it like ruffling.
So my name means the ruffling sails.
That was a name given to me as a young man.
I never understood the meaning but today as a sailor for 30 years I understand that it's a very appropriate name that my family chose for me as a baby.

>> Sounds a bit of a predictor.
Okay.
We have another question here from Thailand.
What is your biggest problem in a journey?

>> You know, voyaging -- we've been talking about how we physically move the canoe across and guide it.
We have to understand this is a community of people that are sailing together so the larger issue is how do you get people in a social setting on a very small canoe to work together?
So you have a process of choosing people that understand and are committed to a common vision and mission.
That's real important and probably the most compelling thing.
My job isn't just to navigate the canoe to get the canoe physically there but to get this community of people to our destination and get them at the very, very end of the process to feel really good about the experience that they've invested their lives into and that's the -- there is no great secret there but it's over -- my years of -- that goes back to how you're brought up and the fact that the way we had a good family upbringing that allows me to lead a group of people much like I was raised.
I challenge my team members usually at the beginning of the trip we establish one big goal that we're going to work on as a group of people and it's not about finding the island.
My big challenge was -- a lot of these guys that I sail with are my friends and peers, what I challenge them to do is what can you do -- what I told them was at the end of a trip I want us to be better friends than we were when we began.
So that's the goal is to be better friends at the end of the trip.
Whatever it took in terms of human practice on the canoe to get us to be better friends, that's what we worked on on the voyage and it's the hardest thing to navigate on a trip is getting people to be focused on the same goal and to be committed to making that a very wholesome experience.

>> That's terrific.
It translates into just about any form of working together with other people.
That's great.

>> I think they have to do that when they get to the Moon.

>> How do you make the canoe or boat?

>> Today these canoes are -- most of them are made out of a marine plywood or composite foam with layers of fiberglass and resin.
The reason why we don't build canoes out of traditional materials anymore there is an issue of depleting our forest resources when we're making these large canoes and we don't have very much.
We had to make choices between taking care of environment and continuing to learn about a culture so we've chosen modern boat building materials and we shape these materials to the same naval architecture of our -- canoe architecture of our an cestors so we're following traditional design but we choose modern materials as opposed to all natural materials because it is a matter of taking care of resources.

>> Okay.
Great.
I had no idea about that.
Okay.
Another question here from Georgia.
Do you look for specific creatures that are native to different parts of the sea when you're on a voyage?

>> That's a very good question.
I myself I don't -- I'm not skilled enough but one of my teachers, who is a traditional navigator from Micronesia, he uses different animals to mark or different pods of dolphins or turtles that they identify living around certain islands.
They'll use those animals to mark the -- where these islands are so we do.
There is an interesting work site if you go to Polynesian Voyaging Society it has a link to a website the University of Pennsylvania that speaks to all the different -- speaks to Micronesia navigation and how to use animals and fish and different sea creatures to mark where certain islands are.

>> Okay, great.
Shauna again here.
Since the color of the water changes depending on the distance from land, we were wondering if the wind also affects the color of the water.

>> You know, I don't believe that the wind does.
I'm not skilled enough -- this is my personal experience.
Clearly it's the depth of the bottom of the ocean that creates the color that you see.
And the color, of course, would also be a clue for identifying where land is.
Especially in the south Pacific on these islands, this ones that have large lagoons, when you see -- when you get in close and you know you're looking for land you can see the large clouds that hover on the horizon especially after they've dumped a little rain on the island they become like color sponges and suck the color of the lagoon up into the bottom of the cloud and you see the blue and green tints on the underside of the clouds that can lead you to land.
I wasn't a real believer of that until I actually sailed down there and I saw this phenomenon.
We knew the islands were there because we have so much information available to us with maps and all that prior study and new the islands were there.
I actually saw the blue and green clouds.

>> Okay, wow, that's great.
All right.

>> That's cool.

>> Another question here and I won't even attempt to pronounce the name but what directions do wind and currents flow from Easter island?
I know these folks are working on a challenge where they're supposed to get some of this information.
Thinking you could point them to a place to look for that information.

>> The Polynesian Voyaging Society has a website.
It has specific information as well as maps pertaining to the challenge of Easter Island and we have very good research material that would help you.
Just know that -- remember when I talked about the northern hemisphere that the wind in Hawaii blows one hand span north of east?
When you go to the southern hemisphere because you cross the equator you have the opposite effect there which is one hand spanned to the south of east would be the direction the winds would come from.

>> Okay.
All right.
We have here a question from WILL.
Would you say the winds are an asset or hindrance during a Polynesian voyage?

>> They're a big asset.
We can only get there if we have wind.
Our principal method of propulsion is wind.
Hawaii is 2,400 miles away from Tahiti.
No way we could paddle that distance without drinking all our water or eating all of our food.
Winds are the principal method of propulsion.
Understand that as important as understanding the stars are to our navigation, we wouldn't be able to attempt this voyage if we didn't have a greater understanding of where the winds blow from and what the natural phenomenon and the natural patterns of wind direction is.
That would be the first layer in terms of the hierarchy of knowledge that you would need to understand.
It begins with meteorology.
That's the basis and foundation for the layers of knowledge the navigator needs to internalize.

>> Okay.
We have a question here from Haley asks, can you navigate the same way from the Moon as we are getting used to here?
That's part two of the challenge, isn't it?

>> You guys can come back and give me the answer to that.
I would assume that your navigational system would rely.
I'm just guessing here.
You guys will become the experts.
Aligning your spacecraft up with certain celestial bodies to aloi -- allow you to take a course line to get you to the Moon.
The difference between the Moon and the island is the Moon is moving.
Something is moving out there.
The planet is moving.
I would think that you need to figure out how long it is going to take you to get to the Moon and then -- and then pick a course line to the Moon that would intersect where the Moon is going to be when you get there.
That's the way I would do it as a navigator.
I'd predict where the Moon is going to be.
Work backwards.
How days to get to the Moon.
Work backwards.
Leave the Earth's atmosphere and aim my canoe towards where I think the Moon is going to be when I think I'm going to get there.
I don't know.

>> How does that match, Brian, to what you know about this?
Wonderful lead-in to the challenge that's going to follow this one.
We're going to see that there are certain common concepts to navigation.
We'll look at how humans spread across the Pacific basin.
We're going the look at these common concepts between these two challenges.
Thank you very much for an excellent question.

>> We have the -- the website up for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
I would invite you to look there.
A lot of really pertinent information that would help you research.

>> Thank you.
I'll think we'll take one more question and that is how long have you been doing navigation?
What age did you begin?

>> I get asked that question all the time.
Actually because this is about creating or developing this strong oceanic sense it begins for us here that live in the islands when we're babies, you know, our parents take us to the ocean and they take us down and they put us in the ocean along the coastlines and we become comfortable in the water and as we get older our parents will take us out and make us swim between our mother and father, between our grandparents and so from a very early age we're becoming comfortable with being in the ocean.
We're becoming confident which allows us, when we get older and we take on more larger challenges in the ocean is to be comfortable that the ocean isn't a scary place and we're not -- we're skilled swimmers and when we get in the ocean we explore safely.
We do it from the time we're babies and later on in life we're doing bigger challenges actually on a canoe.
Thank you.

>> Thank you, Kalepa.
You did an excellent job answering the questions that were received today.
Very interesting answers, very exciting to learn about all the techniques that you've used yourself as a navigator in the Pacific ocean.
We want to say thank you to Kalepa you want to share any last words with us before we depart from you?

>> Just that thank you and you can also say aloha at the end of a conversation just like you say it at the beginning.
It means hello and it also means farewell and good tidings.

>> Well, we want to thank you from Hilo on the big island of Hawaii.
That's where you'll be navigating from in this challenge.
Your starting point will be the big island of Hawaii and you'll be sailing all the way to Rapa Nui in the southern hemisphere.
We want to thank the institute of astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Hilo and Gary, who has been helping us today we want to thank him for helping us with the broadcast.
Thank you to all of you.
Aloha.
Before we sign off, I want to do a few quick reminders.
A couple of things, the website that Kalepa mentioned, you can find that address on page 21 of the educator guide so if you didn't catch it up on the screen look in the educator guide and it's there.
It was a big source for the guide that we created.
Also just to clarify we're doing part one and part two of the challenge.
In this part one we're looking at all the ways to explore and navigate on our own planet especially in the ocean but then in part two which will begin in the winter of 2009 we're going to explore that last question that was asked on how do you explore from Earth to the Moon and the different navigation techniques needed in outer space.
Hopefully you'll join us for part two of the challenge which will begin after the holidays.
We want the remind you that starting this week the -- starting yesterday, November 2 and going through November 16 we're doing a star tracking activity.
This is something that you'll do outside of the classroom and you'll pick one night between the 2nd and 16th of November to go out and look for the star Enif.
It's in our constellation Pegasus.
You can look for that.
We posted on the challenge website the instructions for how to locate that star so you can go to that site and look for the two-page document.
It will give you an image of the constellation and then you can also look at the following page and this ties in directly to what Kalepa was telling you about using your hand as a tool.
So hopefully you'll join us on this activity.
You'll be going outside observing the night sky between the hours of 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. and locate the star and then you'll email us some information, what your latitude and longitude is as the observer and then also how many degrees above the horizon Enif was when you observed it.
We at NASA will compile all that information and post it on the web and you can draw conclusions from that data and see how different observers across the United States and hopefully even the world, how they're data compares and how much does latitude of an observer affect the degrees above the horizon that this star is during its culmination.
So we hope you'll join us for that activity.
It will be very fun and it also just illustrates how much NASA science important are to the navigation process.
So also we have our weekly challenge questions, we had one last week that was asking about how far out at sea can you locate the islands of Tahiti.
We had excellent answers on this question.
We're asking you this week about the doldrums.
Hopefully you'll look up the answers and we'll look forward to receiving those and choosing a winner for this week.
Another reminder is that on November 24th right before the Thanksgiving holidays your navigation plans are due.
We want to have plenty of time to review those before our final webcast in December which I believe is scheduled for December 9th.
All right.
So remember November 24th the date that we need those navigation plans submitted.
Hopefully you'll give us a maps and the types of images you plan to use.
Go to the educator guide book.
We have a sample navigation plan to give you guidance although we're leaving it very open-ended.
We don't want to box you in.
We're open to any ideas and any approaches that you may have.
We also have map there for you to use if that's helpful.
November 24th is the date to use them.
Send them in sooner if they're ready before the date.
I want to thank Brian who joined us today and gave us an overview of the LCROSS mission and Linda over on the sidelines who fielded all your good questions.
And we hope you continue to join us in this journey, this challenge about navigation on our home planet and we look forward to seeing what plans you come up with on getting you and your crew from Hawaii to Rapa Nui.
Thank you.
Aloha.

 FirstGov  NASA


Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: October 2008