Introducing NASA’s New Earth Information Center: A 60-Year Journey in Earth Monitoring

by Santiago Fernandez
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Earth monitoring

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson recently inaugurated a state-of-the-art Earth Information Center at NASA Headquarters in Washington. This groundbreaking facility, both physical and virtual, serves as a powerful showcase for demonstrating the invaluable role of NASA’s extensive data in addressing disasters, environmental issues, and global transformations. Through the center, visitors gain insights from NASA’s 60-year-long Earth-monitoring initiatives, exploring diverse topics such as sea level rise, air quality, wildfires, greenhouse gases, energy, and agriculture. Credit: NASA

NASA has unveiled an impressive Earth Information Center at its headquarters, combining a physical exhibit and a virtual platform to exemplify the remarkable capabilities of NASA’s data in combating climate change, environmental challenges, and disaster management. Drawing upon six decades of Earth-monitoring data, this center caters to a wide range of users, including firefighters, farmers, homebuyers, and land-use planners, empowering them to make well-informed decisions.

Under the leadership of NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday to showcase the new Earth Information Center at NASA Headquarters in Washington. This innovative space offers a blend of physical and virtual experiences, illustrating how NASA’s data can enhance lives in the face of disasters, environmental challenges, and the ever-changing world we inhabit.

As part of the event, NASA also launched the corresponding Earth Information Center website. The ribbon-cutting ceremony precedes the center’s public opening on Monday, June 26.

Understanding our planet is crucial for its protection. Join NASA as we continuously monitor, study, and observe Earth 24/7, 365 days a year to learn more, safeguard, and improve life on our home planet. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Climate change stands as a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration, and NASA plays a pivotal role in providing data to researchers and other stakeholders through its extensive constellation of Earth-monitoring satellites. For over six decades, NASA’s satellites, sensors, and scientists have collected valuable observations about our planet, and at the Earth Information Center, the public can catch a glimpse of the profound knowledge gained regarding sea level rise, air quality, wildfires, greenhouse gases, energy, and agriculture.

“For more than 60 years, NASA has utilized our unique vantage point in space to observe Earth, employing satellites and instruments aboard the International Space Station to gather vital, life-saving data,” stated NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “To achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of making this data more comprehensible, accessible, and useful for everyone, NASA is proud to inaugurate the Earth Information Center. From firefighters relying on NASA data for wildfire management to farmers seeking knowledge about optimal planting conditions, the Earth Information Center will enable more individuals to make informed decisions on a daily basis.”

Irrespective of whether people reside in urban areas, suburbs, or farms, individuals throughout the nation can access vital information to comprehend our dynamic planet and prepare for the impacts of climate change. NASA collects and shares data that can benefit a broad range of users, including coastal homebuyers assessing flood risk, businesses seeking information on harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes, farmers requiring drought and storm information, and county land-use planners evaluating wildfire management strategies.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for NASA’s Earth Information Center, Administrator Bill Nelson is joined by agency leadership as well as representatives from NOAA, USGS, USDA, USAID, EPA, and FEMA, on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington. The Earth Information Center provides an immersive experience, combining live data sets with cutting-edge data visualization and storytelling, enabling visitors to witness the transformations occurring on our planet. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

“Nasa data powers resources across the U.S. and around the world, helping communities prepare for a changing climate,” remarked Kate Calvin, NASA’s Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor, who hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The Earth Information Center benefits humanity by providing easily accessible and readily usable Earth information, allowing people to see our home planet through the eyes of NASA.”

Notable speakers at the event included:

  • Karen St. Germain, Director of NASA’s Earth Sciences Division
  • Dave Applegate, Director of USGS (U.S. Geological Survey)
  • Janet McCabe, Deputy Administrator of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Erik Hooks, Deputy Administrator of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration)
  • Michael Morgan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
  • Mike Michener, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security, USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development)
  • Marlen Eve, Deputy Administrator of Agriculture Research Service, USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • Dwane Roth, Big D Farms, Kansas

NASA, in collaboration with founding partners FEMA, EPA, NOAA, USAID, USDA, and USGS, established the Earth Information Center. This center draws upon research conducted by NASA’s centers, as well as government and industry partners, to provide comprehensive data.

The interactive physical exhibit is located in the east lobby of NASA Headquarters in Washington, inviting visitors to witness Earth’s splendor as observed by NASA astronauts from space. When it opens to the public on June 26, visitors can explore the exhibit from 8:30 a.m. EDT to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Earth monitoring

What is the purpose of NASA’s new Earth Information Center?

The purpose of NASA’s new Earth Information Center is to showcase 60 years of Earth monitoring data and demonstrate how it can address climate change, environmental challenges, and disaster management. The center provides valuable insights and information to a wide range of users for making informed decisions.

What can visitors expect to find at the Earth Information Center?

Visitors to the Earth Information Center can expect to find a combination of physical exhibits and a virtual platform that highlight NASA’s extensive data on various topics such as sea level rise, air quality, wildfires, greenhouse gases, energy, and agriculture. The center offers an immersive experience with live data sets, cutting-edge data visualization, and storytelling to showcase how our planet is changing.

How can NASA’s data benefit different stakeholders?

NASA’s data can benefit various stakeholders in different ways. Firefighters can rely on NASA data for effective wildfire management, farmers can access information on optimal planting conditions, coastal homebuyers can assess flood risk, businesses can obtain data on harmful algal blooms, and county land-use planners can make informed decisions about wildfire management. The Earth Information Center aims to make this data easily accessible and usable for everyone.

Who are the partners involved in establishing the Earth Information Center?

The Earth Information Center was established through collaboration between NASA and several founding partners, including FEMA, EPA, NOAA, USAID, USDA, and USGS. These partnerships contribute to the wealth of data and research available at the center.

How can the public access the Earth Information Center?

The Earth Information Center is located at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. It is open to the public from Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Visitors can explore the interactive physical exhibit to gain a deeper understanding of NASA’s Earth monitoring efforts and the challenges faced by our planet. Additionally, a virtual platform and the corresponding Earth Information Center website offer accessibility for those who are unable to visit in person.

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5 comments

Jen567 June 26, 2023 - 1:50 am

wow, nasa’s new earth info center sounds sooo cool!! gonna check it out fo sho. i luv how they using data 2 fight climate change n stuff, super important!!!

Reply
GreenThumb87 June 26, 2023 - 2:37 am

As a farmer, I’m thrilled that NASA’s data can help us make smarter decisions about planting crops. Gonna swing by dat Earth Info Center to get some useful info for my fields! #GreenRevolution

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WeatherWatcher June 26, 2023 - 5:01 am

So pumped for the new Earth Info Center! Finally, we’ll have access to NASA’s climate data to prepare for storms and stuff. This is gonna be a game-changer for disaster management!

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SpaceGeek101 June 26, 2023 - 10:16 am

NASA’s Earth Information Center is an amazing initiative! They’re takin’ data from space to help us understand our planet better. Can’t wait to explore it virtually too!

Reply
AstroNerd22 June 26, 2023 - 7:23 pm

omg NASA be doin’ big things! dis earth info center gonna be lit! dey got all da info on sea lvl rise, air quality, wildfires n more. ima b there ASAP!

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