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50th Anniversary of Earth Day


Happy Earth Day 2020!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of a day where we on taking care of our planet.

One organization that continues to play a major role in Earth Day is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA.

“One of NASA’s major missions is not just exploring other planets like Mars and Jupiter, things like that,” said NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientist Dr. Michelle Thaller.  “But the one that’s most important to all of us, the Earth, and protecting the environment of the Earth.”

Over the last five decades, NASA has been studying Earth in many different ways.

“On the Earth, we actual have a number of aircrafts that are flying missions all the time to monitor air pollution and look for changes in the ice caps, Operation IceBridge is continuously flying over the North and South Poles when it’s the right time for observations,” Thaller said.  “We even have scientists on the ground taking measurements all over the world.”

And not just on our planet, but also from above in space.

“We have more than 40 active missions that study the planet Earth, satellites, that look at everything from ocean quality, air pollution, the entire land-sat system which actually maps out every inch of land on the Earth,” Thaller said.

Including building and launching weather satellites that help meteorologists, like us here at WeatherNation.

“We have these wonderful views where you can see basically the whole half of the planet at once and you can actually track all of the storms coming,” Thaller said.  “We’ve actually watched what the weather’s been doing now for more than 40 years from space and you can find what changes are happening, what the long term trends are, so that’s just a treasure trove of information.”

Take part in national science innovation projects

“What I would say is support the practice of science and listen to what the data tells you,”  Thaller said.  “There’s going to be a lot of solutions to this and a lot of ways we can adjust as a species to be gentler on the Earth’s environment.  It’s not just one thing, but we’re going to need scientists like you and me, just like you were saying, to lead the forefront.”

Learn more about activities you can do you with your family in your backyard or in the safety of your own home

Video Courtesy: NOAA Satellites, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center & NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

About the author
Meredith is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist as designated by the American Meteorological Society.  She was born and raised in Cleveland but has worked from coast to coast covering almost every type of weather.  Meredith is a weather, space, and STEM journalist and has been live out in the field during destructive tropical storms on the Gulf Coast of Florida, raging wildfires in Southern Cali... Load Morefornia, and covered the wreckage from tornadoes in the Great Plains. In 2009, she reported on the damaging hail storm during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and in 2017, the historic California winter storms that produced record rain totals and devastating flash flooding.  Prior to joining WeatherNation, Meredith worked at KEYT/KKFX in Santa Barbara, CA, KOTA-TV in Rapid City, SD, WWSB-TV in Sarasota, FL, and began her career as an intern at WGN-TV in Chicago.  She was Santa Barbara's "Favorite Weathercaster of the Year" in 2016 and the Community Partner of the Year in 2017 for her volunteer work with Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties and awarded with the 2018 Valparaiso University Alumni Association First Decade Achievement Award. Meredith is the current chair of the American Meteorological Society's Station Scientist Committee, which focuses on raising greater awareness & outreach when it comes to science education for viewers.  She's also an accomplished journalist, producing weather and science stories including rocket launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base and the new GOES-16 satellite and it's impacts on weather forecasting.  Meredith was personally invited by NASA's Johnson Space Center to interview astronauts on the International Space Station and was the only meteorologist in the nation to do an exclusive report accompanying the GOES-West satellite from Colorado to Florida, reporting on and covering it's launch in 2018.  Meredith's also worked on features that took her paragliding along the coast, white water rafting in Northern California, learning to surf in the Pacific Ocean, and how to be an aerial photographer while flying a single engine plane! Say hi on Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn!

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