Celebrate with NASA as Earth Day Turns 40

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One of the benefits we noted when humanity first was able observe the earth from above our atmosphere, from outer space, is that it enabled us to gain a new perspective on how very special our planet is. Viewed from a distance, it is obvious that we are all living in one global environment. And from a distance, this environment doesn’t look as vast as it does from our vantage point on earth.

The land looks more precious, the seas less like unlimited places to discharge our wastes, and the atmosphere, less like a place to emit air pollution at night so no one sees it, to the fragile envelope which, more than anything, makes earth the special place it is.

Indeed, it is the atmosphere that permits life as we know it to flourish on earth. And we owe most of this new knowledge to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration!

Begun in 1970, Earth Day is the annual celebration of the environment and a time to assess work still needed to protect the natural resources of our planet. NASA maintains the world’s largest contingent of dedicated Earth scientists and engineers in leading and assisting other agencies in preserving the planet’s environment.

NASA began celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington on Sat., April 17. Included in the eventswas the ‘NASA Village,’ which contains three domed tents, highlighting the use of NASA science and technology to advance knowledge and awareness about our home planet and sustain our environment.

Other events are also scheduled at NASA centers in California, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Thurs., April 22 (10-11 a.m. PDT) — A live, text-based Earth Day Web chat geared toward students in third through eighth grades will feature Mike Gunson, project scientist for NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission, who will answer questions about how NASA is studying Earth’s climate.

Sat. and Sun., April 24-25 (9 a.m.-5 p.m. PDT) — JPL will join the Earth Day celebration at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif. The event will include exhibits and handouts on NASA’s Earth science research.

Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

Wed., April 28 (10 a.m.-2 p.m. PDT) — Highlights include exhibits and displays from a variety of environmental agencies, public utilities, conservation groups and businesses, and an opportunity to recycle personal electronics.

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

Thurs., April 22 (4-5 p.m. EDT) — NASA scientist Thomas Charlock will discuss global climate change with teachers during a live webcast on the Digital Learning Network at: http://dln.nasa.gov/dln.

Sat., April 24 (10 a.m.-3 p.m. EDT) — Exhibits and speakers will be at the Virginia Zoo’s “Party for the Planet: Earth Day at the Zoo” in Norfolk, Va.

Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Thurs., April 22 (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CDT) — Activities on the theme “reducing our carbon footprint” include a talk about energy by an expert from the Tennessee Valley Authority, a tree-planting ceremony and an environmental vendor exposition.

Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Tues., April 27 (8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. CDT) — An environmental workshop for elementary school teachers, “Helping Our Planet Earth: It’s Up to You and Me,” includes classroom activities about animal habitats, “green” tips, recycling and other topics.

For a comprehensive listing of NASA’s Earth Day activities, visit NASA.gov/earthday.

Article by Roger Greenway appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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