Photos: Earth Day 2012: Most Stunning Satellite Images Of Earth And NASA's Full Schedule For The Event (PHOTOS)
By Drishya Nair | Apr 21, 2012 12:26 PM EDT
The International Mother Earth Day is observed April 22 and the world is already setting agendas to increase awareness about Earth's natural environment, and to make sure that we provide clean water and pollution free air to breathe for the future generations.
Year 2012 will see the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day. Reportedly, the first person to come up with the whole concept of Earth Day was John McConnell in the year 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco and that was the first city to have ever celebrated Earth Day. But in the same year, a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson and it was first held April 22, 1970.
The Earth Day went international in 1990 and since then, efforts are being taken worldwide to focus on environmental issues for a week around April 22.
So what is planned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US government's agency responsible the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research?
According to their website, NASA will is taking part in the Earth Day celebration on the National Mall in Washington through the weekend from April 20 to 22. During these three days, the agency will be involved in activities and exhibitions open to the public.
Also, there are other activities scheduled at nearby NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. These activities include exhibitions that would highlight the NASA science and technology to advance knowledge and awareness of the planet Earth.
The Green Theater will feature satellite images and presentations by NASA scientists and others.
Below is the schedule of NASA Earth Day events on the Mall given out by their official Web Site:
Saturday, April 21
12 - 5 p.m. EDT -- NASA Village open to the public. Demos and exhibitions in all three tents.
1 - 2 p.m. EDT -- NASA UStream broadcast in the Green Theater: featuring scientists talking about how NASA helps us see and understand Earth in new ways.
Sunday, April 22
12 - 7 p.m. EDT -- Official Earth Day activities
11 a.m. - 5 p.m. EDT -- NASA Village open to the public
NASA will also be hosting the following Earth Day activities at the Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center:
Wednesday, April 18
12 - 1 p.m. EDT -- "The Next Generation Blue Marble from Suomi NPP," Robert Simmon, NASA Earth Observatory
1 - 2 p.m. EDT -- Digital Learning Network presentation: "Beautiful Earth Multimedia Performance and Science Dialogue." Kenji Williams, Jim Rock and Thorsten Markus present a multimedia and musical online performance: http://www.dln.nasa.gov
Below are a few images from the NASA's image gallery. NASA has compiled and released stunning satellite images of the Earth.
This unusual image was photographed through the Cupola on the International Space Station by one of the Expedition 30 crew members. The lake just above the bracket-mounted camera at center is Egirdir Golu in Turkey, located at 38.05 degrees north latitude and 30.89 degrees east longitude. A Russian Soyuz spacecraft is docked to the station at lower right and part of the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) can be seen just above itSource: NASA
One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, the population is shown to be almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area. The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower. The smaller cities and towns within the Nile Delta tend to be hard to see amidst the dense agricultural vegetation during the day. However, these settled areas and the connecting roads between them become clearly visible at night. Likewise, urbanized regions and infrastructure along the Nile River becomes apparent. Scattered blue-grey clouds cover the Mediterranean Sea and the Sinai, while much of northeastern Africa is cloud-free. The thin yellow-brown band tracing the Earth’s curvature at the top of the image is airglow, a faint band of light emission that results from the interaction of atmospheric atoms and molecules with solar radiation at an altitude of approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers).Source: NASA
Like rivers of liquid water, glaciers flow downhill, with tributaries joining to form larger rivers. But where water rushes, ice crawls. As a result, glaciers gather dust and dirt, and bear long-lasting evidence of past movements. Alaska's Susitna Glacier revealed some of its long, grinding journey when the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead on Aug. 27, 2009. This satellite image combines infrared, red and green wavelengths to form a false-color image. Vegetation is red and the glacier's surface is marbled with dirt-free blue ice and dirt-coated brown ice. Infusions of relatively clean ice push in from tributaries in the north. The glacier surface appears especially complex near the center of the image, where a tributary has pushed the ice in the main glacier slightly southward. Susitna flows over a seismically active area. In fact, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck the region in November 2002, along a previously unknown fault. Geologists surmised that earthquakes had created the steep cliffs and slopes in the glacier surface, but in fact most of the jumble is the result of surges in tributary glaciers. Glacier surges--typically short-lived events where a glacier moves many times its normal rate--can occur when melt water accumulates at the base and lubricates the flow. This water may be supplied by meltwater lakes that accumulate on top of the glacier; some are visible in the lower left corner of this image. The underlying bedrock can also contribute to glacier surges, with soft, easily deformed rock leading to more frequent surges.Source: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, a
Off the coast of Argentina, two strong ocean currents recently stirred up a colorful brew of floating nutrients and microscopic plant life just in time for the Southern Hemisphere's summer solstice. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of a massive phytoplankton bloom off of the Atlantic coast of Patagonia on Dec. 21, 2010. Scientists used seven separate spectral bands to highlight the differences in the plankton communities across this swath of ocean.Source: NASA
Cloudless skies allowed a clear view of dust and hydrogen sulfide plumes along the coast of Namibia in early August 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on Aug. 10, 2010. Multiple dust plumes blow off the coast toward the ocean, most or all of them probably arising from streambeds. Unlike the reddish-tan sands comprising the dunes directly south of the Kuiseb River, the stream-channel sediments are lighter in color. Wind frequently pushes dust plumes seaward along the Namibian Coast. Easterly trade winds blow from the Indian Ocean over the African continent, losing much of their moisture as they go. The winds are hot and dry as they pass over Namibia’s coastal plain, where they are prone to stir fine sediments. Even with dust plumes overhead, the marked change in land cover is obvious along the Kuiseb River. South of the river, sand dunes predominate, but the vegetation along the Kuiseb River prevents the dunes from advancing northward. North of the river, the land surface consists primarily of gravel plains punctuated by rocky hills. Hydrogen sulfide appears as a swath of irridescent green running parallel to the coast north of Walvis Bay. A 2009 study linked the emissions in this region to ocean currents, biological activity in the water column, and carbon-rich organic sediments under the water column. The meeting of hydrogen sulfide gas and oxygen-rich surface waters causes pure sulfur to precipitate into the water. The sulfur’s yellow color makes the water appear green to the satellite sensor.Source: NASA
This other worldly landscape is actually Dagze Co, one of many inland lakes in Tibet. In glacial times, the region was considerably wetter, and lakes were correspondingly much larger, as evidenced by the numerous fossil shorelines that circle the lake and attest to the presence of a previously larger, deeper lake. Over millennia changes in climate have resulted in greater aridity of the Tibetan Plateau.Source: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, a
NASA's Earth Science Mission seeks to understand Earth's systems and their responses to natural and anthropogenic (human-made) changes. A fleet of satellites in NASA's Earth Observing System gives scientists the global, long-term measurements they need to connect the atmosphere (air), lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), cryosphere (snow/ice), and biosphere (life) as a single system. NASA works with many other partners from government, industry, academia, and international space agencies on the satellite missions that make up the EOS series.Source: NASA
The NASA Village science tents features many "hands on" demonstrations, activities, and handouts to illustrate the capabilities of Earth Science Research.Source: NASA/Christopher Chrissotimos