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NASA is well known for observating space, but the agency also has a strong hand in monitoring Earth. NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) is a collection of satellites designed to monitor and understand key components of the climate system and their interactions over an extended period.
"NASA and other space agencies had launched satellites to study [Earth] before," the agency said in a press release after EOS had operated for a decade and a half. "But the past 15 years have produced a more comprehensive look at Earth from space than any other period in history. At a time when our planet is undergoing critically important changes, this global view offers not only stunning imagery but also vitally important information about how Earth is changing."
Birth - NASA - Space - Earth - Agency
From its birth, NASA has focused not only on getting into space but on the Earth we launch from. In 1960, the agency launched its first weather satellite, TIROS 1. Although it operated for only 78 days, it demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring Earth's weather and clouds from space. Several subsequent satellites continued to study Earth over the years, probing different aspects of the planets.
On January 31, 1961, a chimpanzee by the name of Ham blasted off on a Mercury-Redstone rocket and became the first hominid to go to space. Ham reached an altitude of 157 miles during a 16 and a half-minute flight and was recovered unharmed, but a bit dehydrated. The two-year-old chimpanzee underwent rigorous training before the flight and learned to do timed tasks in response to electric lights and sounds. Ham’s ability to accomplish tasks under the harsh conditions of spaceflight showed NASA that human astronauts could do the same.
EOS - Mission - NASA - Earth - Observing
Planning for the EOS mission began in the early 1980s, according to NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Reference Handbook. EOS was recognized as part...
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