Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM
LANDSAT: VIEWING EARTH AND TEACHING 21ST CENTURY GEOSCIENCE FROM A PLANETARY PERSPECTIVE
It is now possible, and appropriate, to teach geologic processes with examples from many planets and to bring this knowledge “home” to more effectively teach terrestrial geoscience in the 21st Century. Observing Earth from space, with image sets such as Landsat, brings new perspectives to the study of our planet and new ways of solving problems for our communities. The Landsat system originated in 1972, and we now have four decades of Landsat images of Earth that can be used to compare and contrast the effects of geologic processes on our own planet.. The treasure trove of Landsat data is now available at no cost, and there is no-cost software to use to study landforms and cities, and to analyze change over time. With Landsat, students from elementary through undergraduate, teachers at all levels, and the general public can see and study the effects of forest fires, assess the health of agricultural fields, monitor the growth of cities, and estimate the extent of future natural disasters such as volcanoes and floods. Elementary through high school science and classroom teachers can easily learn how Landsat images are made and to use the "power in the pixel” with an educational program called “Adopt a Pixel.” Formal and informal teachers of all grade levels can download and use Landsat scenes of almost anywhere on Earth, especially their students’ own state, region, or town. When terrestrial geological processes and planetary analogs are compared with high-resolution planetary images of other planets, for example the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter HiRISE images, this type of learning tool can: (1) bring the excitement of solar system exploration to learning about Earth; (2) show ways that our understanding of Earth helps us to interpret and understand data about other planets, and ways that our understanding of other planets has influenced our study of Earth; and (3) look for and monitor indicators of global change on Earth.