The ability to see Earth from space has forever changed our view of the planet. We are now able to look at the Earth as a whole, and observe how its atmosphere, oceans, landmasses, and life interact as global systems. Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are dynamic, changing on timescales of days, minutes, or even seconds. Monitoring the Earth in near real-time allows us to get an up to date picture of conditions on our planet.
Presented here is a quick look at the information on view in the exhibit and examples of the near real-time data sets used to study the Earth.
This exhibition is on view in gallery 213
Our Dynamic Planet
Our Earth is unique among the planets. Liquid water covers 70% of the surface and the atmosphere is rich in water vapor. It is a geologically active planet. Yet Earth's most unique characteristic is the presence and diversity of life. The animation to the left shows the Earth as viewed from the Apollo 17 mission on its way to the Moon.
Earth-orbiting satellites and global monitoring networks are continously collecting images and data on our planet's atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere. This makes it possible to see conditions such as the extent of cloud cover and the temperature of the ocean's surface waters as they are on the Earth today.