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Earth from Space: The Planetary Society Urges Stepped-Up Monitoring of Our Home Planet


Mat Kaplan
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Bill Nye the Science Guy will conduct a Planetary Society presentation on Capitol Hill on June 25, 2008, urging the United States to lead a global response to climate change on Planet Earth, with increased observations from space and greater global coordination.

Wednesday, June 25
8:00 am
2325 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington DC.

This event is held in cooperation with the House Science and Technology Committee.

Joining Nye, who is vice-president of The Planetary Society, will be eminent scientists Charles Kennel and Berrien Moore, and NOAA Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services, Mary Kicza. The program will be introduced by Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society.

The Planetary Society is the largest space-interest group in the world and the leading Non-Governmental Organization advocate of space exploration.

"Understanding our home planet better is a key benefit of space exploration," said Friedman. "Both exploration of the solar system and Earth observations from space have contributed greatly to that understanding," he added.

Kennel, recently appointed chair of the National Research Council's Space Studies Board, and Moore will discuss the dangers represented by global climate change, citing reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Kicza, who is the Chair of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites Strategic Implementation Team, will speak about international government programs of Earth observations.

Kennel said, "Earth observations are showing the immense changes taking place on our planet. Never before have they been so needed."

The Planetary Society has joined the Alliance for Earth Observations, an initiative created to promote the understanding and use of land, air and sea observations for societal and economic benefit.

"Earth observing is a key to our survival," said Nye, "and goes hand-in-hand with planetary exploration as part of humankind's efforts to create a hopeful and positive future."

Riders on the Earth Together - a special issue of The Planetary Society's membership magazine, The Planetary Report - will be unveiled at the Congressional event. Kennel served as guest editor of the issue, and, together with Moore, Richard Somerville and Michael King, contributed articles. Riders on the Earth Together was partially sponsored by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The Planetary Society remains committed to its mission of inspiring the people of Earth to explore new worlds and search for life elsewhere. But it has added the understanding of our own planet to its mission statement, to help deal with the critical problem of understanding global climate change and bring the benefits of space exploration to the people of Earth. The Planetary Society's co-founders, Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray, addressed the topic of global climate change as early as the 1970s.

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