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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.

    Significant Events

    For more a deeper dive into NASA's Earth science mission, visit NASA's Earth Science Division and NASA's Earth Observatory.

    Notable Explorers

    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
    Artist's concept of twin GRACE-FO satellites.

    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.

    More on GRACE-FO ›

    Careers

    10 Careers That Explore Space

    1

    Astronaut

    Astronauts pave the way for human exploration beyond our Earth. They are pilots, scientists, engineers, teachers, and more.

    2

    Project Manager

    Project managers guide missions from concept to completion, working closely with team members to accomplish what they set out to do.  

    3

    Rover Camera Operator

    A camera payload uplink lead writes software commands that tell a rover what pictures to take.

    The first thing that fired my imagination for planetary science was when the NASA Voyager spacecraft discovered active volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.

    4

    Artist

    Melding science with design, artists create everything from large-scale installations to the NASA posters hanging in your bedroom. 

    5

    Media Specialist

    Media specialists tells stories across social media and help feature missions and people on TV and in films, books, magazines, and news sites. 

    6

    Writer/Producer

    Writers/producers capture the incredible stories of NASA's missions and people and share them with the world. 

    7

    Administrator/Director

    Administrators and directors work out of NASA headquarters, prioritizing science questions and seeking to expand the frontiers of discovery.

    8

    Educator

    Whether it's introducing kids to space or teaching physics to PhD candidates, educators help share their knowledge with the public.

    9

    Engineer

    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. 

    10

    Scientist

    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.

    Explore in 3D

    Eyes on the Earth Ad

    Explore in 3D—Eyes on the Earth

    Monitor our planet's vital signs, such as sea level height, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and Antarctic ozone. Trace the movement of water around the globe using the gravity map from NASA's GRACE satellites. Spot volcanic eruptions and forest fires using the carbon monoxide vital sign. Check out the hottest and coldest locations on Earth with the global surface temperature map. “Eyes on the Earth” displays the location of all of NASA's operating Earth-observing missions in real time.

    Eyes on the Earth ›

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