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The world's largest airship, the Skyship 600, made its way through the clouds on a month long journey across the United States. A team of British scientists made the air trek in a blimp as part of a BBC expedition team to study the clouds and life activity in the air. Microscopes from Carl Zeiss Microscopy, LLC were used to assist in the research being conducted by the traveling team for the BBC Two series Cloud Lab. The team included an entomologist, meteorologist, and professional explorer who hoped to shed light on the creation of clouds and the relationship between diverse ecosystems and weather.
The research team travelled from Florida to California in the air and landed at 13 different air fields along their route. A small ground crew followed the blimp's path to monitor the progress and transport equipment to each stop. Carl Zeiss Microscopy loaned an inverted, compound microscope (Axio Vert.A1) and a stereo microscope (Stemi 2000), which were used by the scientists at the temporary "labs" to be set up on the air fields. Bugs captured and air cultures grown in the airship were examined and dissected. With the use of the microscopes, the scientists were able to look at the cultures grown on filters from different locations for fungi and bacteria. They also examined insects and anything else they came across. After being examined in the field, the bacteria were sent out to be imaged with a scanning electron microscope, as well as possible DNA testing.
The main goal of the exploratory expedition was to explain the changes in weather and its effects. Also, data was correlated to current weather, migratory, and wildlife patterns. The idea started with the question, "What would it be like to live on a cloud?" To be able to be among clouds and accurately measure them, a gentle machine was needed so as not to disrupt or change the cloud patterns. The U.S. was chosen due to the availability of renting an air ship for a month and no country borders needed to be crossed along the way, which makes travel easier. The Cloud Lab will be seen on BBC Two television next year.
About Carl Zeiss Microscopy, LLC
The Carl Zeiss Group is an international leader in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In fiscal year 2011/12 the company’s approximately 24,000 employees generated revenue of nearly 4.2 billion euros. In the markets for Industrial Solutions, Research Solutions, Medical Technology and Consumer Optics, ZEISS has contributed to technological progress for more than 160 years and enhances the quality of life of many people around the globe. The Carl Zeiss Group develops and produces planetariums, eyeglass lenses, camera and cine lenses and binoculars as well as solutions for biomedical research, medical technology and the semiconductor, automotive and mechanical engineering industries. ZEISS is present in over 40 countries around the globe with about 40 production facilities, over 50 sales and services locations and approximately 20 research and development sites. Carl Zeiss AG is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany.
The Microscopy business group at ZEISS is the world’s only manufacturer of light, X-ray and electron microscopes. The company’s extensive portfolio enables research and routine applications in the life and materials sciences. The product range includes light and laser scanning microscopes, X-ray microscopes, electron and ion microscopes and spectrometer modules. Users are supported for software for system control, image capture and editing. The Microscopy business group has sales companies in 33 countries. Application and service specialists support customers around the globe in demo centers and on site. The business group is headquartered in Jena, Germany. Additional production and development sites are in Oberkochen, Göttingen and Munich, as well as in Cambridge in the UK and Peabody, MA and Pleasanton, CA in the USA. The company has around 2,800 employees and generates revenue of 650 million euros.
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