Air Date: Week of April 4, 1997
Facts about... NASA project Spaceship to Planet Earth.
CURWOOD: Not all space missions go where no one has gone before. Five years ago NASA launched a mission to the local planet, Earth. The goal of the 20-year project is to expand our understanding of how natural processes affect us, and how we in turn might be affecting them. Using data from space shuttle flights and satellites, scientists are monitoring international treaties to protect the ozone layer by measuring the concentration of gases that eat away at the Earth's protective shield. They've also been calculating how much humidity sits above North America's forests, to help improve weather forecasting. Satellite images are even allowing regional planners to better manage suburban sprawl. Next year, Mission to Planet Earth will send 2 new satellites into orbit. Dubbed Lewis and Clark, the machines will push the frontiers of science even further. They'll be transmitting data on tropical rainfall, one of the driving engines behind our global climate. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
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