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Intriguing Aerial Photos of South Korean Seaweed Farms that Resemble Tiny Checkerboards

Featured image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / CC BY 2.0

Can you see patches of tiny dark dots in the water of these photos? They’re faint, but there. Those dots, which are arranged in seemingly neat rows and columns, creating a checkerboard-like pattern, are seaweed farms along the south coast of South Korea.

How exactly do you farm seaweed? The plant is grown on ropes held afloat with buoys, to ensure the seaweed stays close to the surface. In this way, the plants get enough light at high tide but don’t scrape bottom at low tide.

These fascinating aerial photos were captured by the NASA Earth Observatory and uploaded to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Flickr page, where the description reads:

Since 1970, farmed seaweed production has increased by approximately 8 percent per year. Today, about 90 percent of all the seaweed that humans consume globally is farmed. That may be good for the environment. In comparison to other types of food production, seaweed farming has a light environmental footprint because it does not require fresh water or fertilizer.

Isn’t it incredible that that’s what seaweed farming looks like from above?
 
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Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / CC BY 2.0

   
 
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