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How Satellites Have Played a Role in Protection of Earth

  • Category: Science
  • Subcategory: Astronomy
  • Topic: Planet
  • Pages: 3
  • Words: 1415
  • Published: 12 March 2019
  • Downloads: 27
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How Satellites Have Played a Role in Protection of Earth essay
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How has satellites helped us to understand and take care of our planet?

For thousands of years, human beings could on wonder about Earth and the other observable planets in the solar system. Many ideas-for example, that the Earth was a sphere and that it travelled around the sun- were based on brilliant reasoning. However, it was only with the development of rockets that could send satellites to space that brought about space exploration. Artificial satellites are any object purposely placed into orbit around Earth, other planets or the sun. Earth orbiting satellites can provide data to map Earth determine the size and shape of the Earth and detect rise in ocean level. Russian scientists and engineers shook the world by placing into orbit the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1 which was launched on October 4, 1957. Named after the Russian word for “travelling companion of the world” (sputnik zemli), it was a small satellite, measuring 58cm (0.58m) across. It circled the Earth once every 96.2 minutes and spent 92 days in orbit completing a total of 1400 orbits. No sooner had the world recovered from the excitement of the first achievement was it again shaken by the launching of sputnik 2 on6 November 3, 1957, Sputnik 2 weighed 508.5kg and carried a husky dog named Laika.

Since the early launching of the first artificial satellite, thousands of these “man-made-moons” have been rocketed into Earth’s orbit. Today, artificial satellites play key roles in the communications industry, in military intelligence, and in the scientific study of both Earth and the outer space. Also different types of artificial satellites have been successfully placed in orbit. These include weather, navigations satellites, communications satellites, and astronomical satellites. Advances made in radio, telemetering and television made it possible to guide unmanned satellites into orbit. It also enabled the transmission of all kinds of scientific data and pictures to ground stations. Environmental satellites circle the Earth in an orbit that passes over the north and south poles several times a day. Pictorial information about the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean is relayed back to the surface, where it is used to monitor changes in the environment, The information that scientists gather from space missions such as these help increase their understanding of the planet in which they live in, “Earth”. They can apply this knowledge to better understand the forces that created the Earth and continue to act upon it.

People had not known for so many years what the Earth looked like from space, until the late 1960s, when people saw for the first time the photograph of the Earth from space taken by Apollo mission crew, on the mission to the moon. Engineers today have developed different types of satellites, each designed to serve a specific purpose or mission. Some satellites were built specifically for discovery and research which were mostly launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Authority (NASA) which called mission to the first satellite in an international program. The satellite was placed into orbit with one of its major missions was to understand the impact of human activities on the global environment. Another of such missions was the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS). Which was first launched in 1972, continued to acquire periodic multi-spectral images of the earth’s surface to support investigations in areas such as agriculture, forestry, and land, mineral, and mineral resources?

Satellites have done far more for Earth and its inhabitants than just inspire us with pretty images of the earth. It is very important to the future of life on our planet to understand how what we do affects the delicate balance of the environment. Using information from satellites, we are beginning to know how pollution from our various human activities affects the environment. You are probably familiar with the use of satellites for transmitting TV signals and telephone calls, but you may not be as familiar with how much satellites have helped us to understand and take care of our planet. Satellites have studied oceans, the atmosphere, clouds, weather, rainforests, deserts, cities, farmlands, ice sheets, and just about everything else on and even in Earth. Satellites have shown that the ozone is disappearing over some parts of Earth, which had resulted from the release of harmful chemicals to the atmosphere which are produced from humans and their activities, so we know that we must find and use chemicals that are less damaging to our atmosphere.

(“The ozone hole over the South Pole is apparent in this false-color image taken by a satellite in October 1999. Low levels of ozone are shown in blue. Ozone is a gas that blocks harmful ultraviolet sunlight. Industrial chemicals released into the atmosphere have caused ozone to break down, opening holes in the ozone layer that tend to concentrate at the poles”. – Anonymous, from Encarta Encyclopedia 2009).

We use satellites to predict the weather. We may not be able to change the weather but having an idea ahead of time what it’s likely to do give us the chance to prepare. The two GOES satellites, station high above the east and west coasts of the United States, let us track hurricanes and other storms as they develop. Having this view from space gives people enough warning of dangerous weather to prepare and even evacuate vulnerable areas where a hurricane might hit. Two satellites TOPEX Poseidon and Jason-1, have been studying the oceans. They have helped us to understand the complex movement of ocean water and to make long term weather predictions. The oceans have a great effect on weather, because they store a lot of heat. These satellites have observed the event known as El Niño, in which unusually warm water collects in the Pacific Ocean near South America causing very heavy rain in some parts of the world and drought in others.

Some remote parts of our planet are almost impossible to keep an eye on except from space. Frequent satellite images of a rainforest in South America can show how fast this precious habitat is shrinking. Views from space of the North and South poles allow us to monitor the shrinking of ice sheets –important indicators of global warming and possible flooding of coastal regions. Satellites that study Earth are not just fancy cameras in space. Many of them have special instruments that measure light that our eyes cannot see and can reveal important information such as the height of all the oceans all over the Earth, or the wind speed inside clouds. Our home planet, the Earth, is the focus of a lot of NASA missions. In the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) initiative, a number of spacecraft were launched to study the influence of the sun on Earth’s environment. The planet itself is the target for Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE), a long term program for comprehensive studies. Earth-orbiting satellites will monitor Earth’s atmosphere, landmass, oceans, and ice sheets to document the complex processes and interactions taking place.

In the second half of the 20th century, more advances in the study of Earth and its components occurred due to the development of rockets that could send and observe Earth from space with satellites equipped with scientific instruments. Astronauts landed on the moon and gathered ancient rocks that revealed much about the early solar system. During this remarkable advancement in human history, humans also sent unmanned spacecraft to explore the other planets in the solar system. The information relayed by these satellites provided new insights about Earth and has helped develop new theories about how the Earth was formed. From the information given by Earth-orbiting satellites we now know that the Earth is one of the most geologically active of all the planets and moons in the solar system. Earth is constan6tly changing over long periods of time land is built up and worn away oceans are formed and reformed, and continents move around, break-up and merge. Life itself contributes to changes on earth, especially in the way living thin6gs can alter Earth’s atmosphere. Today scientists are working towards placing into orbit faster and safer satellites, which will last longer in orbit. Advances made in satellites manufacturing and a variety of scientific fields have broadened our knowledge about Earth. In conclusion, by studying (Morgan, 2009)Earth’s atmosphere, its surface, and its interior, scientists have learned much about how earth came into existence, how it changed, and why it continues to change

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