Sunday, February 1, 2015

Earth From Space

Earth From Space is a groundbreaking two-hour special that reveals a spectacular new space-based vision of our planet. Produced in extensive consultation with NASA scientists, NOVA takes data from earth-observing satellites and transforms it into dazzling visual sequences, each one exposing the intricate and surprising web of forces that sustains life on earth.

NARRATOR: "Our planet: Earth—you may think you know it well, but a startling new picture is emerging of a world shaped by forces more dynamic and intertwined than we ever imagined, raising possibilities that defy common sense."

"The Earth from Space" is one of the best Nova productions ever. All the views of the planet are from satellites. It presents what we have learned about climate, ecology, geology and a host of other topics from satellites. Stunning graphics show how Earth systems work in unison to make this home of ours function. A lot of the facts are presented in the video but the graphics gives us an even clearer picture of how things coordinate.

No this is not a copy cat of BBC's Planet Earth. This is a scientific program from years of collecting data from satellites and researchers put their findings all together. You'd be amazed how much detective work goes into it, such as how 1/5 of the planet's oxygen is seemingly trapped in the Amazon forest, but travels out via method of rich sentiments dumped into the ocean and then allowing plankton to regenerate the oxygen.

There is no mention of the word "Gaia," but this program graphically reveals how amazingly beautiful and interactive the earth really is, and ties together the effects of one system on other systems (geological, biological, chemical, magnetic, weather patterns, life forms). This fascinating and gorgeous imagery shows whole systems that were unseen until now. Witness how dust blown from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon; how a vast submarine "waterfall" off Antarctica helps drive ocean currents around the world; and how the sun's heating up of the southern Atlantic gives birth to a colossally powerful hurricane. From the microscopic world of water molecules vaporizing over the ocean to the magnetic field that is bigger than Earth itself, Earth From Space reveals the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet.

This satellite imagery has shown us that studying any one thing in isolation isn't enough. You have to look at the planet as a system and see where these connections are. Only by taking a satellite eye's view of the Earth can scientists studying the geology and climate of the planet gain a sense of just how interconnected the sea, land and air of the planet are, said Waleed Abdalati, the director of the Earth Science and Observation Center run through the University of Colorado at Boulder and a participant in the two-hour documentary.

"I think intuitively we know there are connections, but when you can actually trace dust storms off the Sahara to weather events in North America it changes things," Abdalati said. Thanks to satellite data, climate models have been refined, Abdalati added. All 15 climate models in place before most of the Earth-observing satellites were launched have now been changed to reflect the new data gathered by the satellites. Scientists have taken that information to craft a more accurate picture of what future climates could look like. [See a Preview of NOVA's 'Earth from Space']

Satellites record all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, only a very small part of which is normally visible. "The real power of satellite observations is that they represent objective truth," explains Piers Sellers, an ecologist and former astronaut, in the documentary. "They tell us about what the world actually is doing not what we would like to be doing, not what we might fear it to be doing, but what it's actually doing. And it's that that allows us to see change, real change for what it is.

This presentation conveys is a sense of awe and wonderment of both the complexity and vastness of the various intrinsic planetary processes culminating in life itself. Although it includes a brief account of the role played by human interference with the natural balance of these huge systems, it falls short of any real indictment for our destructiveness. But this does represent an important breakthrough in our ultimate understanding of the before unseen forces at work.

 Earth From Space PBS Airdate: February 13, 2013. It's beautiful, educational, and entertaining - excellent quality compared to most natural science programs. You can view this program on PBS website, this Video is free to watch on PBS/Nova.... There is also a DISCOVERY Version on YouTube. The discovery version is NOT as good as the PBS version.