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'Pulse of our Planet': Watching Earth's vital signs
23 October 2014
On 10 September, "Vital Signs: Pulse of Our Planet" premiered at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, Washington, showcasing some of NASA's most exciting Earth observations of our dynamic planet. These science visualisations act as a time capsule of our Earth system, bringing storms, global fires, Arctic sea ice loss and the behaviour of carbon to life on screen.
"Our technological civilisation has grown to where humans can affect the Earth," said the evening's introductory speaker, Lennard Fisk, former NASA associate administrator for space science and applications and now professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space science at the University of Michigan. "We have also been provided with the tools to study and understand the Earth, to predict its future and to determine the actions that will be most effective to protect our future for generations to come."
The Terra, Aqua and Aura spacecraft constituted a first installment of this orbiting toolkit. These satellites marked the beginning of a new way of studying Earth-as a system rather than as individual components of meteorology, oceanography and atmospheric chemistry. Today that toolkit includes a fleet of satellites, which continues to grow, with seven Earth missions currently in development.
Image credit: NASA - Artist's concept of GPM