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Earth Observations from Space

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Blue marble

FIGURE S.1: The blue marble as seen by the crew of Apollo 17. Image (AS17-148-22727) courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

Observations from space over the past 50 years have fundamentally transformed the way people view the Earth. The National Research Council report Earth Observations from Space: The First 50 Years of Scientific Achievements (2008) describes how satellites have revolutionized Earth studies and ushered in a new era of multidisciplinary Earth sciences. Satellite observation has also given us a valuable source of information about ocean color, vital to understanding the health of the ocean ecosystem, as described in the National Research Council report Assessing Requirements for Sustained Ocean Color Research and Operations (2011).