Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Explore

Earth

Cradle of Life As We Know It

Earth is the only place we know of in the universe that harbors life. Ours is the largest terrestrial planet in the solar system. Our rocky, volcanic world is coated in a thin veneer of liquid water, living things, and translucent atmosphere, whose complicated interactions make Earth's surface into a place of constant change. We humans have only had fifty years of perspective on Earth as a planet, of seeing it as a "pale blue dot" floating in the black vacuum of space.

With that perspective, we know precious and unique our planet is. We know, too, that we are having measurable effects on the complex interactions of ocean, land, life, water, and air, changing our climate. But predicting the future of our climate is hard. Understanding how Earth's systems work by studying the way they operate on other worlds is a major goal of planetary exploration. Mars, Venus, and Titan all have (or had) active geology, hydrology, and weather -- but, as far as we know, they don't have life. Is Earth really that unique? Are we truly alone in the universe? We won't know unless we keep searching.

News from Earth

Two epic photos of Earth -- but which one is truer?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/29 05:19 CST | 1 comment

Two images of Earth taken from different spacecraft at the same time illustrate differences in "true" color imaging among spacecraft.

Read More »

December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/22 10:12 CST | 2 comments

It's fun to watch the seasons shift from space, and as of this year we have new ways to do that.

Read More »

Hayabusa2 views Earth and the Moon on approach to December 3 flyby

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2015/12/01 07:26 CST | 1 comment

I just love photos of Earth from planetary missions -- especially if they manage to get Earth and Moon in the same shot, as Hayabusa2 did on November 26.

Read More »

Items 1 - 3 of 100  12345678910Next

Earth's Place in Space

A Pale Blue Dot

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.

More »

Pictures of Earth by Planetary Spacecraft

Many solar system explorers take dramatic photos of Earth as they depart, or fly by; some even have photographed Earth from the vantage point of another planet.

More »

The state of Earth observation, January 2012

As of November 2011, the Earth Observing Handbook counts 109 active missions to study the Earth as a planet, with 112 more approved and planned for the future. Jason Davis provides an overview of key current and upcoming earth-observing missions.

More »

Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Advocacy

Election 2016

Space rarely makes a strong showing in national elections, despite the major state of transition NASA finds itself in today.

Help us catalog and source statements made by candidates referring to civil space issues.

Learn More

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!