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Earth Science
Earth Science Missions Mission to Earth

Goals: Earth science missions are designed to study our home world from above as a whole system and aid in our understanding how the planet is changing.

Accomplishments: Since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, more than a dozen nations have launched hundreds of spacecraft to study our home world from orbit. A half-century of progress in Earth observation from space has steadily changed our perception of Earth. Satellite measurements enabled understanding of the Earth as a system of interconnected parts. It is now clear the characteristics of Earth's atmosphere so critical to life are maintained by complex and tightly coupled circulation dynamics, chemistry and interactions with the oceans, ice and land surface; all of which are driven by solar radiation and gravitational forces.

Get the latest science news related to our home planet: NASA News Topics: Earth

Key Dates
4 Oct 1957:  Launch
Status: In Progress
Fast Facts
Earth Science Facts The USSR's Sputnik 1 (right) was the first manmade object to travel into space; followed a few months later by America's Explorer 1.

Earth is the only known harbor for highly diversified life in the universe.

In contrast to Mars and Venus, Earth's atmosphere, vast quantities of surface liquid water, and internally generated magnetic field maintain an environment conducive to life and human civilization.
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Last Updated: 24 Jan 2011