(NECN) — Maine native and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy is on a new mission: to the Amazon.
Cassidy is traveling with a team of environmental scientists, documenting the changes to the rain forest for a documentary that they hope will raise awareness about climate change.
The team is exploring the Amazon by bike, riding more than 600 miles across the Trans Amazon highway.
"This is another way to be an explorer," said Cassidy, "just in a different part of the world."
Cassidy, along with scientists Osvaldo Stella and Paulo Moutinho, have been documenting their journey on social media channels under the name TransAmazon25.
Stella made this same trek 25 years ago, and has been able to observe the changes illegal mining and deforestation have brought to the region.
The Amazon plays an important role in understanding climate change globally: as the jungle shrinks, there is less vegetation to absorb carbon. The greenhouse gas goes directly into the atmosphere instead.
"Every action that we do affects the world," said Cassidy.