- Originating Technology/NASA Contribution
The Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker exporting millions of gallons of oil, ran aground just after midnight on March 24, 1989 in Alaska, creating what is, to this day, the worst environmental disaster in American history. The affected area of coastal Alaska continues to feel the toxic results of that disaster that killed more than 250,000 seabirds, thousands of marine mammals, and countless numbers of other coastal marine organisms in just its first months. Oil is notoriously difficult to clean from water, and it is still emerging from subsurface reservoirs. Salmon caught in that region are, even now, 16 years later, showing signs of long-term contamination from the devastating oil spill.