WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — NASA is focusing on our planet’s beauty and diversity in celebration of Earth Day on April 22.
While the U.S. space agency focuses much of its research on what’s happening in the impossibly vast universe, NASA scientists also spend a lot of time studying our own Blue Planet.
“A lot of the breakthroughs that we’ve made at NASA actually started with studies of Earth that we extrapolated outwards,” said Dr. Jim Garvin, chief scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA scientists say we already know a lot about Earth and how it’s changing but they also say there’s still much we don’t know.
“We discovered things about Earth that we didn’t know where important. Ozone holes, deforestation,” Garvin said.
Garvin added that Earth’s polar ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland are melting.
“Ice mass loss over just the last 17 years, so this trend is a big trend,” he said.
NASA said these changes don’t just impact creatures that live in those icy climates; they’ll impact all life, including humans.
“If the sea level rises 10 feet, your beachfront property may be under water property, so what are you going to do about it?” Garvin said.
Earth Day is a great day to ask ourselves questions like this. And to reflect on the beauty and fragility of our own home planet.