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CNN10 2020-04-21

CNN 10

Some Parts of Europe Start to Cautiously Reopen; A Comet's Trail Creates an Annual Meteor Shower; A Submersible Makes Undersea Adventures More Accessible

Aired April 21, 2020 - 04:00 聽 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: There's some cautious optimism in the international fight against corona virus and that's where we start today's edition of CNN 10. I'm Carl Azuz outside the CNN Center. Here we go. From Sunday to Monday the nation of Spain saw an increase of several hundred deaths from COVID-19 but it was a smaller increase than the average day last week, and that's giving hope to Spanish health officials. The increase in the number of new cases was lower as well. Italy has seen a decrease in the number of daily deaths and hospitalizations from corona virus and in Germany the government has allowed some small businesses like bike shops and car dealerships to reopen.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel says the country's a long way from being out of the woods and that preventing a relapse of the virus is a priority. The Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark and Slovakia have also removed some of their restrictions. The United States has seen more than 760,000 confirmed cases of the virus according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 30 percent of those cases are in New York state alone and though the governor says New York is past the peak of new cases and deaths, corona virus is still very much a threat. And as far as New York City goes, the mayor of its 8.5 million people says that all parades, concerts and rallies have been cancelled through the month of June.

Other parts of the U.S. with fewer cases are looking at how and when they can start opening up businesses and schools again. A former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says quote "It's not going to be a light switch" meaning that states that do start getting back to normal will be doing it gradually over the months of May and June.

10 Second Trivia. Which of these meteor showers is typically visible in April? Lyrids, Bootids, Perseids, or Ursids. The meteor shower that gets its name from the constellation Lyra occurs in April.

And scientists say that's because the Lyrids appear to originate from near that constellation. But don't just take their word for it on Tuesday and especially Wednesday night, you can see the Lyrids for yourself if the weather's clear. It's the first meteor shower of Spring. The American Meteor Society says the best time for viewing it will probably be between midnight and 5 a.m. but if that's too late or too early for you, astronomers say some slower longer meteors will streak over our heads in the hours before midnight. Here's why this is happening. There's a comet named Thatcher. It leaves a trail of debris behind it as it rockets through space. The Earth passes through that debris in April and the shooting stars that are really Thatcher's meteors burn up in our atmosphere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We get questions here all the time about comets, asteroids, meteors and meteorites. What's the difference? Well let's start in space and work our way all the way down to the surface. A comet is a snowball. It's a piece of ice. Now the ice is mainly frozen gas, not water but there could be dust and rocks and things inside the comet. Haley's Comet, now NASA knows of about 3,600 other comets than that one out there. Closer in in the asteroid belt, these are rocks not gas.

They could be metal as well but they are hard surfaces and sometimes they come out of the asteroid belt and closer to the surface of the Earth or at least our atmosphere. If one or a piece of a smaller one called a meteoroid hit's the surface of the atmosphere it turns into a meteor. It gets bright because it hits our atmosphere and begins to burn up. It doesn't make its way all the way down to the surface. It turns into a shooting star. Now if it does make its way all the way down to the surface of the Earth and hit's the ground and you can pick it up. That is a meteorite.


AZUZ: From looking above us to diving below us, get ready for a ride on the Deepflight Dragon. It's top speed is only four to five miles per hour and it only goes as deep as about 400 feet but there's still enough sunlight at that depth for you to see what's around you. So the watercraft can save the weight of heavy lighting equipment and you don't need extensive training or a wetsuit to operate it. So let's see what's undersea.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks kind of like a Formula One racecar. That's what most people think. Think of it as a cloud (ph) copter. You know those drones that fly around but this is a big manned that goes underwater. It's very simple. (inaudible) secret of this it's going to be shocking but this is an ocean planet. We think its built for us because we walk on land but this is a small part. 94 percent of life on Earth is in the oceans.

We're excluded. Human beings don't have access to our own planet. We're trying to change that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this thing come down there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the last 50 years, we've gone underwater in machines called submersibles. Initially the holy grail is to get to the bottom of the planet. And now you realize that the real goal is get everyone else down there that wants to go. Just give them the opportunity.

It doesn't exist right now. We're trying to create that. In a normal submersible, most people think you need a professional pilot because you have to adjust the valves. You have to adjust the buoyancy and if you mess up you can sink. On the machines we're building now don't do that. They don't have that complexity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just try to make them so their usable by most people. We'll take you out and I'll give you the controls. You would drive the submarine. That's a big deal. OK. Under the sea and you have the car. The left hand side is up and down. I'm pushing all the way forward right now and you are diving. Under the sea (inaudible) driving a submarine. It's that easy. That easy. So we are now well under Lake Tahoe. It's rather beautiful down here I think even though there's no animals.

Your right hand side is your joystick. Move that joystick gently to your right. The sub is turning around to the right. We're moving gently forward. You're now moving forward. That's all there is to it. We go down to what we call the edge of darkness which is this wonderful twilight zone. Below where you can snorkel but before it's black, 400 feet is black. You can't see. What's the point? It's powered electrically. We have really good lithium type batteries and you can stay down electrically eight hours or so. Life support is really important so that's 24 hours.

That's longer than you need and most people that's one, two, three hours maximum.

The key to having something that most people can use if you mess up what happens. If you get into trouble, you have to do the simplest possible thing. It's (inaudible) and it floats back. You're home. The very first of anything costs a lot of money so these cost well over $1 million. How do we get that from most people? We fly in airplanes. We don't have to buy them. You want one, charter one. You get taken up by one. You don't have to buy it. Some very, very wealthy people want the adventure they can buy. They're the lucky ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you almost lose sense of who you are and I just sort of pinch myself and say I'm flying underwater which is incredible.

It's the one thing that the ocean needs is the ability to be more accessible and if this doesn't do it I don't know what does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't tell the future but our kids will have access to the ocean in a way that we never did. If parents thought this planet was explored, trodden, worn out, fought over, that's it. We have to go into space. Now kids are going to go way up and there's an even bigger planet down here you never had access to but I do. I'm going to explore this place.


AZUZ: Back on the water's surface, we thought we'd surf to shore. But Carl, there are lockdowns. That's not a problem for Thomas Surveti (ph).

He hadn't been surfing since January so he made this sweet, stop motion video from his apartment and now at least it looks like he's doing what he loves to do. Surveti (ph) used sheets, pillow cases, towels and a lot of creativity to complete the scene. The only problem is when he wipes out, it's like hitting his head on hardwood.

Oh maybe there are no ariels but you're still "floored" but if the waves and opportunities are flat and you're too tense to "hand loose" at home why not wax the floor, line up your camera and kick out some "sick surfing" videos. They're sure to win you a perfect CNN 10. To the students of Roane County High School, thanks for hanging CNN 10 with us from Spencer, West Virginia. I'm Carl Azuz.