|AIAA Celebrates Earth Day and Salutes the Role of Space-Based Technology In Protecting and Understanding Earth's Environment
April 22, 2013 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) celebrates Earth Day, and salutes the role that space-based systems play in the protection and understanding of our planet’s environment.
AIAA Executive Director Sandra H. Magnus stated: “The first time I went to space and the space shuttle bay doors opened, I saw the Earth for the first time and the immediate impression I had was that our atmosphere is fragile. It looked so thin, just a slender eggshell of air protecting us from the harsh and unforgiving environment of space. It is hard to get that impression when you are down here on the surface, but from space it is clear that Earth is our spaceship and we must take care of it. Do not take our environment, our planet, for granted. We know more about Earth than ever before, with over a hundred earth and weather observation satellites deployed by the global community, but gathering the data is only the first step – each of us must do our part to protect our fragile shield of air.”
AIAA maintains that aerospace technologies and systems provide the best chance for the U.S., and the global community as a whole, to establish a viable framework for integrating critical space, air, ocean, and land-based monitoring systems, and that the data gathered from these multiple systems will be essential to providing a clear understanding of our planet and its environment. Through the coordinated efforts of NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and partners around the globe, aerospace technology and the commitment, talent, and ingenuity of the aerospace community are making a crucial difference in the effort to preserve our planet’s environmental health.
The reaction of those like Dr. Magnus who have viewed the Earth from space has been called “the overview effect.” More information on this phenomenon can be found at www.overviewinstitute.org. It is also described in “The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Second Edition,” by AIAA author Frank White, which is available at http://tinyurl.com/cpv9dnu.