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IntroductionEarth is made up of complex, interactive systems that create a constantly changing world that we are striving to understand. From the vantage point of space, we are able to observe our planet globally, using sensitive instruments to understand the delicate balance among its oceans, air, land and life. NASA satellite observations help study and predict weather, drought, pollution, climate change, and many other phenomena that affect the environment, economy and society.
On Deck for Earth Exploration: Launching in 2018, the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites will build on the Earth climate data record of its successful predecessor, GRACE, which completed its science mission in October 2017 after more than 15 years in orbit.
GRACE-FO will extend GRACE's legacy of scientific achievements, which range from tracking mass changes of Earth's polar ice sheets and estimating global groundwater changes, to measuring the mass changes of large earthquakes and inferring changes in deep ocean currents, a driving force in climate. To date, GRACE observations have been used in more than 4,300 research publications. Its measurements provide a unique view of the Earth system and have far-reaching benefits to society, such as providing insights into where global groundwater resources may be shrinking or growing and where dry soils are contributing to drought. GRACE-FO is planned to fly at least five years.
Astronauts pave the way for human exploration beyond our Earth. They are pilots, scientists, engineers, teachers, and more.
Project managers guide missions from concept to completion, working closely with team members to accomplish what they set out to do.
Sample processors protect and preserve samples delivered back to Earth so they can be studied by scientists.
The first thing that fired my imagination for planetary science was when the NASA Voyager spacecraft discovered active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.
Melding science with design, artists create everything from large-scale installations to the NASA posters hanging in your bedroom.
Media specialists tells stories across social media and help feature missions and people on TV and in films, books, magazines, and news sites.
Writers/producers capture the incredible stories of NASA's missions and people and share them with the world.
Administrators and directors work out of NASA headquarters, prioritizing science questions and seeking to expand the frontiers of discovery.
Whether it's introducing kids to space or teaching physics to PhD candidates, educators help share their knowledge with the public.
Engineers design and build all types of machines, from what a spacecraft looks like to the software that directs where a rover goes each day.
From an astrophysicist to a volcanologist, scientists of all types pose questions and help find answers to the mysteries of our universe.
The important thing about being a scientist or an engineer is learning how to think critically, learning how to be creative, learning problem solving and learning how to learn.