Transcript for NASA Connect - Virtual Earth

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[ Music ]

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Earth science week encourages
everyone from around the world

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to learn more about
how our planet works

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and how it's systems interact.

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In honor of Earth science week,

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this episode of NASA
Connect will introduce you

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to Earth system science.

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You will learn what a system is,
and how to apply that concept

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to learn more about
how the earth works.

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You will observe researchers and
scientists using math, science,

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and technology to comprehend
the workings of our planet.

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In your classroom,
you'll do a cool activity

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to help you understand systems.

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And, using the instructional
technology activities,

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you will explore earthquakes,
Antarctica, and more.

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So stay tuned as NASA Connect takes
you on a tour of our virtual Earth.

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[ Music ]

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[Jennifer] Hi, I'm Jennifer Poli.

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And welcome to NASA Connect.

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The show that connects you to math,
science, technology, and NASA.

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We're here in sunny Virginia
Beach, which is located

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in Virginia's Tidewater region.

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Now in case you're not familiar
with where Virginia Beach

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or Virginia's Tidewater region
is located, let's take a look

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at a bird's eye view
of our location.

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Virginia Beach this in
the Tidewater region,

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located in southeastern Virginia.

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Virginia is part of
the United States,

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which we all know is
part of North America.

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The continent of North
America is one

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of the seven continents
on the planet Earth.

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Does it appear that we are all
interconnected in some way?

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In a global scale, have you
ever wondered how the earth

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really works?

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Now here, we can see the
ocean, the beach, and the sky.

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Not to mention all the people,
animals, and marine life.

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They all play important roles in
determining how our planet works.

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We can see that the earth is
whole, meaning that everything

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on the planet, inside and
out, is interconnected.

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Say, do you know the branch
of science that deals

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with studying how the earth works?

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Well, if you said Earth
science, you're getting warm.

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Scientists have established
a new field

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of science called
Earth system science.

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The earth is a system
of individual parts

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that work together
as a complex whole.

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Now in order to understand
this concept,

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we need to know what a system is.

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And we'll get to that in a minute.

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But first, throughout the program,

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you will be asked several
inquiry based questions.

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After the questions
appear on the screen,

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your teacher will pause the
program to allow you time to answer

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and discuss the questions.

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This is your time to explore
and become critical thinkers.

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Students, take a few
minutes to answer

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and discuss the following
questions.

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What is a system?

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What are some examples of a system?

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Choose one system and draw a
picture with its parts labeled.

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It's now time to pause the program.

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So what if the system?

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We use the word system when we want
to describe something that is made

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up of different kinds of parts.

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These parts join together to
form an interconnected whole.

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Was your definition
similar to this one?

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Learning to think
systematically is very useful,

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because all sorts of
systems around us.

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In fact, each of us is
our own complex system.

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For example, each of us is made
up of more than 200 kind of cells.

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These skin, bone,
blood, gland, nerve,

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and muscle cells all join together
to form an incredible system.

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An individual human person.

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Looking at ourselves as a system
reveals two important features

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of systems.

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One: each part of a system
can itself be described

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as a smaller system or subsystem.

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Two: a system can be very
different from its parts.

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Let's look at the first feature.

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Each part of a system can also
be described as a subsystem.

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One of the part of a human
system is the circulatory system.

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This system moves blood
throughout your body.

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However, the circulatory system
itself is a system with many parts.

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The parts of the circulatory
system include the heart, vans,

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arteries, and blood cells.

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The heart is also a
system that made of parts.

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These include muscle cells,
nerve cells, and valves.

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You can go even further
and concentrate

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on the heart muscle cell.

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The heart muscle cell is made of
a cell membrane, cell nucleus,

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and many different proteins.

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Whew! You could go crazy
breaking down all those systems.

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And you know in case
you didn't realize,

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we are not the biggest
system around.

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The human system is actually
part of the system of life,

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which is part of the planet Earth.

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And the planet Earth is
part of the solar system.

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Are you with me so far?

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So you see, each part of a
system can itself be described

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as a system.

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The second system feature states

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that a system can be very
different from its parts.

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A school bus is another
example of a system.

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A school bus has hundreds of
parts, such as the frame, engine,

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wheels, gas tank, and seats.

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Individually, none of
these parts will get you

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from your home to school and back.

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Joined together as an
interconnected whole,

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the bus system can take you
back and forth to school.

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The school bus has
properties that are different

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from the properties of its parts.

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No part of the school bus has
the ability to transport you.

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Only the bus functioning as a
whole system has these properties.

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So, did you come up with some
good examples of systems?

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Now that you have an
understanding of what a system is,

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how can you apply the concept
of systems to learn more

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about how the earth works?

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Recall the two features
about systems.

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Number one, each part of a
system can itself be described

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as a system.

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And number two, a system can be
very different from its parts.

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Okay guys, I have three
questions I want you to try

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and answer before we
continue with the program.

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What do you think are the
parts of the Earth system?

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How do the parts of the Earth
system you identified work together

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to make Earth function as a whole?

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How is the Earth system
itself part of larger systems?

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Compare your answers to all
three questions with others

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in your class or group.

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As the teacher pauses the program,

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keep in mind the two
features about systems.

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How did you do with
those questions?

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You know guys, NASA has come
to understand that the only way

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to really comprehend the
workings of our planet is

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to view the earth
as a whole system.

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To learn more about
Earth system science

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and have NASA studies
the earth, let's go visit

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with Dr. Melody Ann Avery from
NASA Langley Research Center.

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[Dr. Avery] Earth system
science is an integration

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of many scientific disciplines,
including geology, biology,

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chemistry, physics, oceanography,
meteorology, computer science,

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and all other sciences that
study life and the earth.

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NASA scientists use
modern technologies

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to measure key features of our
planet, such as concentrations

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of gases in the atmosphere
and the temperature

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of the ocean in many locations.

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Satellites orbiting our planet
provided enormous amount of data

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that scientists use to try to
understand how our planet works

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and the changes that are happening.

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You know earth science, long
perceived as a minor field compared

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to biology and the physical
sciences, is now emerging

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as an important field because
of the new ability of humans

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to change the balance
of the Earth system.

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And students, with Earth
system science you have greater

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opportunities to learn
through inquiry,

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exploration, and discovery.

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Aided by the expanded
use of the Internet

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and visualization technology.

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I think it's fair to say that
our quality of life depends

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on the quality of our earth
scientists, and in the quality

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of our citizens knowledge
about the Earth system.

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This is because understanding
the land, air, water,

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and life of our planet
gives us the knowledge

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to best manage the world around us.

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For the first time in history,

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we can dramatically change the
way the planet works as a whole.

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Here are a few questions
for you to think about.

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How can we change the way
the planet works as a whole?

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What technologies
have humans developed

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to make that change possible?

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Well, there are so many
people living on the planet

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and each person needs
energy like food, water,

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heating, and transportation.

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All of this energy,
if used carelessly,

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can't change the Earth's
climate, deplete its ozone shield,

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and dramatically alter the number
and kinds of other organisms

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that share our planet.

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Students, let's take a look
back at one of the questions

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that Jennifer posed to
you earlier in the show.

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What do you think are the
parts of the Earth system?

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Everything in Earth's system
can be placed into one

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of four major subsystems.

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Land, air, water, and life.

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We call these four
subsystems spheres.

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Specifically, they are the
lithosphere or land, atmosphere

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or air, hydrosphere or
water, and biosphere or life.

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Let's learn a little
bit about each.

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Suppose you were to
slice the earth in half

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and view its different layers.

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What would it look like?

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The lithosphere, sometimes
called the geosphere,

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contains the hard solid land
of the planet's surface,

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called the crust, semisolid layer
underneath the crust called the

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mantle, the liquid
layer near the center

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of the planet called
the outer core,

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and a solid dense center
called the inner core.

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The crust is very uneven.

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There are high mountain ranges
like the Rockies and Andes,

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shown in red, huge plains or flat
areas like those in Texas, Iowa,

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and Brazil, shown in green;

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and deep valleys along the
ocean floor, shown in blue.

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The atmosphere contains
all the air in our system.

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It extends from the planet
surface to more than 100 km

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above the planet surface.

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The atmosphere itself is
composed of a number of layers.

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The middle portion of the
atmosphere, the stratosphere,

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protect the organisms
of the biosphere

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from the sun's ultraviolet
radiation.

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When air temperature in a
lower part of the atmosphere,

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the troposphere, changes,
weather occurs.

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As air in the lower
atmosphere is heated or cooled,

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it moves around the planet.

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The result can be as simple
as a breeze or as complex

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as a tornado or hurricane.

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The hydrosphere contains
all the solid, liquid,

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and gaseous water of the planet.

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The hydrosphere extends from the
earth's surface downward several

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kilometers into the lithosphere,

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and upward about 12 km
into the atmosphere.

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Solid or frozen water can be
found in the form of glaciers,

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ice caps, and icebergs.

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This is also called
the cry is fear.

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Liquid water can be found in the
form of oceans, rivers, lakes,

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streams, and groundwater
beneath the earth's surface.

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Gaseous water, water vapor,
can be found in the atmosphere

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and also inside your lungs,
where it is key to life.

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The final sphere, the biosphere,

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contains all the planet's
living things.

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This sphere includes all
of the microorganisms,

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plants, and animals of Earth.

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Within the biosphere, living things
form ecological communities based

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on physical surroundings
of an area.

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These communities are
referred to as biomes.

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Deserts, grasslands, and
tropical rainforests are three

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of the many biomes that
exist within the biosphere.

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Can you determine what
biome you live in?

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Now it is time for
you and your teacher

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to discuss Jennifer's question.

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How do the parts of the Earth
system you identified work together

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to make Earth function as I hold?

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Also, now that you compared your
parts list with NASA's list,

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how does each sphere work together
to make Earth function as a whole?

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This is a great time to pause the
program and discuss these questions

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with your peers or teacher.

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Students, remember there
is one last question

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that Jennifer would like you
to discuss with your teacher.

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And that is, how is the
Earth system itself part

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of larger systems?

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But before you discuss that
question, let's send it back to

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[Jennifer]

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[Jennifer] Thanks, Dr. Avery.

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Okay guys, let's review.

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So far, we introduced
a new approach

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to understanding how the
earthworks called Earth

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system science.

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Next, we define what a system is,

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and how the Earth system
is composed of spheres.

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Now it's time for you to become
an Earth systems scientist

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and apply what you've
learned about systems.

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But before we begin the activity,

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let's review an important
mathematical standard

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called representation.

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Representation is central
to the study of mathematics.

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Basically, representations help
you communicate your thinking.

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Some examples of representations
include drawings, charts, graphs,

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symbols, and physical objects.

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By creating, comparing, and using
various types of representations,

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you can develop a
deeper understanding

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of mathematical concepts
and relationships.

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Earth system scientists are
constantly looking for patterns

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that can help them
understand how the earthworks.

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By analyzing data, they can
construct relationships among

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numbers and the scientific
principles they are investigating.

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Often, scientists will present the
relationships through some form

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of visual or graphical
representation.

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Now that you understand the
importance of representation,

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the students at Great
Neck Middle School,

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right here in Virginia Beach, will
show you this program's activity.

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It involves system diagrams.

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[Voices] NASA Connect asked us to
show you this program's activity.

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It's an introduction to systems.

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You can find the activity
in the educator guide,

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which can be downloaded at
the NASA Connect web site.

[00:15:37.670]
Here are the main objectives.

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Students will be able to one:
model a familiar Earth system

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by using standard system symbols.

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Number two: evaluate
the global water cycle

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by comparing it to a working model.

[00:15:54.350]
In the activity, you will be
asked to create a system diagram

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or flowchart of one of the Earth
subsystems you identified earlier

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in the program.

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Here is an example of how
to create a system diagram.

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[Teacher] Class, let's model how

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to represent soil it
warmed by the sun.

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Follow along with me
using your journal.

[00:16:15.230]
Students that have
personal digital assistants

[00:16:18.160]
or PDAs should use pico map
to draw their system diagram.

[00:16:22.300]
The sun is considered the source.

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Soil is the destination.

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Heat energy flows from
the sun to the soil.

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Alas, what factors might affect
how much heat energy is absorbed

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by the soil?

[00:16:48.090]
Kyle?

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[Kyle] Seasons?

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[Teacher] Great answer.

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Anyone else?

[00:16:51.980]
Abby?

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[Abby] Clouds and time of day.

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[Teacher] Good answer, Abby.

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Seasons, clouds, and time

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of day I'll affect how much heat
energy is absorbed by the soil.

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Other conditions include land
cover and atmospheric conditions.

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Using circles to represent
conditions or factors

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that might affect the system,
let's add the three factors.

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Seasons, time of day, and clouds.

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[Speaker] After your teacher
completes the model example,

[00:17:32.990]
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you will gain more
experience with system diagrams

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by completing a system
diagram or flowchart for one

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of your systems be listed
while watching this program.

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Students, you are
strongly encouraged

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to develop your own
symbols or representation.

[00:17:49.080]
Be prepared to write a short
paragraph summarizing your system.

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Now you are ready to
take on this challenge

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of developing a system diagram
for one of our subsystems.

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You will work in groups to
read the technical passage,

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the global water cycle, which is
located in the education guide.

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To help you visualize
the water cycle,

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you can download a great picture

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at the United States
geological society web site.

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Or you can access a wonderful
animation of the water cycle

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at the following web site.

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Using your own symbols,
create a system diagram

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for the global water cycle as
described in the reading passage.

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Students, don't forget to label
your sources and destinations,

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and label the direction
of the flow.

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Have one or two groups
share their diagrams

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and explanations to your class.

[00:18:38.920]
Finally, students, you can evaluate
other groups' system diagrams using

[00:18:43.940]
the activity specific
scoring tool that can be found

[00:18:47.190]
in the educator guide.

[00:18:48.950]
[Speaker] Special thanks to
the AI AA, student branch

[00:18:51.770]
from George Washington University,

[00:18:53.670]
for helping us out
on this activity.

[00:18:56.020]
[Speaker] Thanks, we
had a great experience.

[00:18:57.820]
And we encourage teachers to
visit our web site to learn more

[00:19:00.390]
about the AI AA mentorship
program in your area.

[00:19:04.050]
[Jennifer] Thanks, you guys.

[00:19:05.160]
And by the way, I
still haven't forgotten

[00:19:07.350]
about that third question I
asked you earlier in the program.

[00:19:10.830]
How is the Earth system
part of larger systems?

[00:19:14.590]
I'll get your answers a
little later in the program.

[00:19:17.040]
But first, did you know NASA has
three important mission statements?

[00:19:22.000]
They are: to understand and
protect our home planet,

[00:19:25.450]
to explore the universe
and search for life,

[00:19:28.470]
and to inspire the next generation
of explorers as only NASA can.

[00:19:33.650]
So how do these NASA mission
statements apply to the study

[00:19:37.700]
of the Earth and beyond?

[00:19:39.840]
Well, Dr. J. Marshall
Sheppard from NASA's office

[00:19:43.000]
of Earth science has the scoop.

[00:19:46.100]
[Dr. Sheppard] Thanks, Jennifer.

[00:19:46.950]
The Earth science application
program focuses on applications

[00:19:49.920]
of national priority to expand and
accelerate the use of knowledge,

[00:19:53.820]
science, and technologies resulting

[00:19:56.250]
from the Earth science enterprise
mission of improving predictions

[00:19:59.440]
in weather, climate,
and natural hazards.

[00:20:02.450]
NASA has identified 12 applications

[00:20:04.590]
of national priority
to benefit society.

[00:20:07.030]
They are: energy forecasting,
agricultural efficiencies,

[00:20:10.920]
carbon management, aviation
safety, homeland security,

[00:20:15.400]
community growth management,
disaster preparedness,

[00:20:18.840]
public health, coastal management,
biological invasive species,

[00:20:23.690]
water management and conservation,
and air quality management.

[00:20:27.650]
Essentially NASA operates many
scientific missions in partnership

[00:20:31.140]
with public, private,
and academic institutions

[00:20:33.840]
to study the Earth
and its subsystems.

[00:20:36.410]
Earth system scientists
analyze the data

[00:20:38.510]
to learn how the different
subsystems work together

[00:20:41.220]
to function as a complete hole.

[00:20:43.320]
Then, Federal agencies such
as the Department of Energy,

[00:20:46.420]
Federal Aviation Administration,
US Department of Agriculture,

[00:20:50.310]
US Geological Survey
Society, National Oceanic

[00:20:53.850]
and Atmospheric Administration,
and other agencies use our data

[00:20:57.470]
to develop application tools
to help improve the quality

[00:21:00.580]
of life here on Earth.

[00:21:02.060]
It's important that
we all work together

[00:21:03.840]
to ensure our planet is little
before many generations to come.

[00:21:07.340]
Here's a question to think about.

[00:21:09.310]
Choose four of the 12
applications and try

[00:21:11.500]
to determine what Earth subsystem
-- lithosphere, hydrosphere,

[00:21:15.900]
biosphere, or atmosphere -- or
subsystems it's associated with.

[00:21:21.340]
Then discuss your answers
amongst your peers and teacher.

[00:21:24.820]
As the teacher posits the program,

[00:21:26.960]
keep in mind how Jennifer
defined what a system is earlier

[00:21:30.080]
in the program.

[00:21:31.540]
Are you starting to understand
about the concept of systems?

[00:21:34.530]
Good. Jennifer mentioned
NASA's mission statement.

[00:21:37.730]
The first part is to protect
and understand our home planet.

[00:21:41.170]
Data collected by NASA
satellites contribute greatly

[00:21:44.020]
to our understanding and
ability to forecast weather,

[00:21:47.020]
climate patterns,
and natural hazards.

[00:21:49.300]
The second part of NASA's
mission statement is

[00:21:51.190]
to explore the universe
and search for life.

[00:21:53.840]
Applications developed from
Earth system science data could

[00:21:57.050]
potentially be used to study the
other planets in the solar system.

[00:22:00.530]
Speaking of our solar system,

[00:22:01.950]
I believe that Jennifer hasn't
answered the question regarding how

[00:22:04.670]
our Earth is a part
of larger systems.

[00:22:06.860]
Hmm. The third part of NASA's
mission statement definitely

[00:22:10.680]
applies to you.

[00:22:11.920]
To inspire the next
generation of explorers.

[00:22:14.810]
Understanding how the earth works

[00:22:16.600]
and environmental awareness
are topics that challenge

[00:22:19.280]
and excite the youth of today.

[00:22:21.150]
Future scientists and
engineers like you to continue

[00:22:24.500]
to bring real scientific
breakthroughs

[00:22:26.360]
in studying our planet.

[00:22:28.130]
By the way, do you know what
careers are related to the study

[00:22:31.060]
of Earth system science?

[00:22:32.730]
Well I created a list of a variety
of applications relating to career.

[00:22:37.180]
Let's take a look at them.

[00:22:39.050]
Forestry, migration of populations,
water management, agriculture,

[00:22:44.690]
such as crop forecasting and
fish catch, health issues,

[00:22:49.120]
such as famine or outbreaks
of asthma and other diseases,

[00:22:53.410]
technological instrumentation
applications based on satellite

[00:22:56.890]
and other types of remote
sensing, and weather forecasting

[00:23:00.490]
and weather related events.

[00:23:02.430]
Can you match some of
the ideas you thought

[00:23:04.550]
of what my applications list?

[00:23:06.670]
I bet you didn't realize that there
are a lot of careers associated

[00:23:09.270]
with studying the Earth.

[00:23:10.740]
And mathematics is a
fundamental skill in all.

[00:23:13.260]
The last part of the mission
statement says, as only NASA can.

[00:23:19.440]
NASA contributes scientific
research and technology,

[00:23:22.340]
which our partners used to
develop innovative approaches

[00:23:24.960]
for Earth science
applications worldwide.

[00:23:27.630]
It's important to understand how
the Earth functions as a whole

[00:23:30.640]
and to meet the needs to
help manage forest fires,

[00:23:33.960]
coastal environment, agriculture,
impacts of infectious diseases,

[00:23:38.390]
aviation safety, and
hurricane forecasting.

[00:23:41.500]
So the next time you watch the news
and hear about hurricanes, floods,

[00:23:45.400]
wild fires, earthquakes, or a
volcano erupting, take a moment

[00:23:49.290]
and think about how it might
be impacting your local area.

[00:23:52.210]
Jennifer, back to you.

[00:23:53.870]
[Jennifer] Thanks, Dr. Sheppard.

[00:23:55.740]
[00:23:57.940]
Hey guys, check out this
really cool Web activity

[00:24:00.510]
that should motivate
you to learn more

[00:24:02.440]
about the 12 national applications.

[00:24:05.580]
Thank you sir.

[00:24:07.760]
Going fishing.

[00:24:09.800]
Hey. Let's take a look

[00:24:10.900]
at two really cool wet
activities developed by space stars

[00:24:14.600]
to learn more about two
of the Earth's subsystems:

[00:24:17.950]
the lithosphere and
the hydrosphere.

[00:24:20.700]
The two Web activities are called
earthquake hunters and Waterworld.

[00:24:24.710]
And both activities
can be downloaded

[00:24:26.490]
from the NASA Connect web site.

[00:24:28.050]
Do you have what it takes
to be an earthquake hunter?

[00:24:31.650]
NASA has a very important
satellite system,

[00:24:34.530]
called the global earthquake
satellite system or GESS,

[00:24:39.030]
that is very concerned
with tectonic activity

[00:24:42.620]
on the Earth's surface.

[00:24:44.350]
Say, do you know what
tectonic means?

[00:24:47.660]
Well, it pertains to the structure
or movement of the Earth's crust.

[00:24:52.330]
Now, this activity lets
you step into the shoes

[00:24:55.060]
of the scientists studying
information from GESS

[00:24:58.630]
by taking a look at the
tectonic activity on Earth.

[00:25:02.440]
You will use a geographic
information systems, or GIS,

[00:25:06.700]
software tool to allow you to
analyze different types of data.

[00:25:10.730]
Explore and investigate
where the majority

[00:25:13.710]
of earthquakes took
place in 2002 and 2003.

[00:25:18.080]
Were they around large
cities such as Los Angeles?

[00:25:21.810]
Tokyo, Japan, or Mexico
City, Mexico?

[00:25:25.390]
Do they occur all over the world,
or just in certain locations?

[00:25:29.310]
Is there a relationship between
earthquakes and plate boundaries?

[00:25:33.620]
It is your job to determine where
the majority of earthquakes occur

[00:25:37.470]
around the world, and how
many people do effect.

[00:25:40.170]
Can you forecast where the
next earthquakes will occur?

[00:25:43.660]
In the second Web
activity, called Waterworld,

[00:25:46.460]
students will explore the
continent of Antarctica.

[00:25:49.330]
Approximately 90%
of the world's snow

[00:25:52.020]
and ice can be found in Antarctica.

[00:25:54.150]
But there is more to
this mysterious continent

[00:25:57.020]
than just that.

[00:25:58.230]
What if all the frozen snow
and ice in Antarctica melted?

[00:26:02.520]
Imagine what would happen
if 30,000,000 km of snow

[00:26:06.570]
and ice became part
of the hydrosphere.

[00:26:08.760]
Students, you will analyze
the map of the world

[00:26:11.850]
when the oceans are 5 m, 50 m,
and 73 m above normal sea level.

[00:26:17.640]
What area of the world
will be affected

[00:26:19.660]
by a 5 m increase sea level?

[00:26:22.050]
What about the 50 m increase,
or a total fall of Antarctica?

[00:26:26.840]
Will the place where you live
still be above sea level?

[00:26:30.930]
The answers to all these questions
are left for you to decide.

[00:26:36.440]
Okay guys, now we can
finally get to that question

[00:26:39.170]
that hasn't been answered.

[00:26:41.480]
How is the Earth system
part of larger systems?

[00:26:44.460]
The answer that question
is left up to you.

[00:26:48.010]
Your challenge is to
answer the question based

[00:26:50.360]
on what you learned
from this program.

[00:26:52.660]
Developed a PowerPoint
presentation, write a report,

[00:26:55.860]
or even design a piece of artwork.

[00:26:58.560]
Students, check out the
Earth system science song

[00:27:01.430]
on our web site, developed by
Magic State of the Art and put

[00:27:04.800]
at the end of this program.

[00:27:06.790]
It might guide you in finding
the answer to your question.

[00:27:10.700]
Submit your presentation, report,

[00:27:12.530]
or artwork to the
NASA Connect web site.

[00:27:15.030]
There's a good chance that
your presentation will be seen

[00:27:17.670]
by millions of students
across the country.

[00:27:20.070]
We look forward to your submittals.

[00:27:22.020]
Well, guys, that wraps up
another episode of NASA Connect.

[00:27:25.020]
We'd like to thank everyone who
helped make this program possible.

[00:27:28.420]
Got a comment, question,
or suggestion?

[00:27:31.460]
Then e-mail them to
connect@LARC.NASA.gov.

[00:27:36.480]
Or pick up a pen and mail
them to NASA Connect,

[00:27:39.930]
NASA Center for Distance Learning,
NASA Langley Research Center,

[00:27:43.600]
Mail stop 400, Hampton, VA 23681.

[00:27:47.670]
Teachers, if you would like
a videotape of this program

[00:27:50.180]
and the accompanying
educator guide,

[00:27:52.350]
check out the NASA
Connect web site.

[00:27:54.370]
So until next time,
stay connected to math,

[00:27:57.110]
science, technology, and NASA.

[00:28:13.370]
[00:28:15.620]
Bye from Virginia Beach!

[00:28:24.620]
[00:28:27.960]
[ Music ]

[00:28:27.960]