Earth: Your Home, Our Mission

We pioneer and support an amazing range of advanced technologies and tools to help us better understand our home planet, the solar system and far beyond.

Here are 5 ways our tech improves life here on Earth…

1. Eyes in the Sky Spot Fires on the Ground

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Our Earth observing satellites enable conservation groups to spot and monitor fires across vast rainforests, helping them protect our planet on Earth Day and every day.

2. Helping Tractors Drive Themselves

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There has been a lot of talk about self-driving cars, but farmers have already been making good use of self-driving tractors for more than a decade – due in part to a partnership between John Deere and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Growing food sustainably requires smart technology – our GPS correction algorithms help self-driving tractors steer with precision, cutting down on water and fertilizer waste. 

3. Turning Smartphones into Satellites

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On Earth Day (and every day), we get nonstop “Earth selfies” thanks to Planet Labs’ small satellites, inspired by smartphones and created by a team at our Ames Research Center. The high res imagery helps conservation efforts worldwide.

4. Early Flood Warnings

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Monsoons, perhaps the least understood and most erratic weather pattern in the United States, bring rain vital to agriculture and ecosystems, but also threaten lives and property. Severe flash-flooding is common. Roads are washed out. Miles away from the cloudburst, dry gulches become raging torrents in seconds. The storms are often accompanied by driving winds, hail and barrages of lightning.

We are working to get better forecasting information to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Our satellites can track moisture in the air – helping forecasters provide an early warning of flash floods from monsoons.

5. Watching the World’s Water

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Around the world, agriculture is by far the biggest user of freshwater. Thanks in part to infrared imagery from Landsat, operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), we can now map, in real time, how much water a field is using, helping conserve that precious resource.

We use the vantage point of space to understand and explore our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. Our observations of Earth’s complex natural environment are critical to understanding how our planet’s natural resources and climate are changing now and could change in the future.

Join the celebration online by using #NASA4Earth

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.