NASA keeps an eye on Earth thanks to research satellites orbiting the planet

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As NASA gets ready to launch the 9th Landsat satellite into orbit, scientists are reminding earthlings that they study more than stars and other planets; They also study our planet from space to help increase the quality of life here on earth.

“For 60 years we’ve had satellites out in space looking back at planet Earth and giving us a good idea of what’s going on,” said Dr. Bridget Seegers, NASA research scientist.

Landsat 9 is the latest in a series of Earth observation satellites that’s expected to launch in September 2021. The satellite is being built by NASA and will be monitored by the United States Geological Survey.

Dr. Seegers says satellites like Landsat 9 have enabled scientists to study issues such as deforestation, growing urban centers, and water quality. The first Landsat launched in 1972 to begin sending back images.

“It’s a really nice time series since we have five decades of data to watch how the world has changed,” she said.

Dr. Seegers says NASA hopes Lansat 9 helps them learn more about the impact of climate change on weather patterns.

“We’re getting very intense rain events,” Dr. Seeger said. “Not necessarily more storms or hurricanes, but when they do come they’re dropping a lot more rain all at once and that leads to flooding.”

It will probably be a while before everyday humans are able to live in space, but Dr. Seeger says there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the possibilities.

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