A Candid Look at NASA's "Living Planet"

Narration:

Transcript:

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I’m Alex Kekesi. I’m the data visualizer with

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the NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

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I’m Compton Tucker and my responsibility in this is the interpretation

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of what’s happening on land.

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And I’m Gene Feldman, I’m an oceanographer at NASA Goddard

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and I'm responsible for everything wet. And I'm Lauren

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Ward. I'm a video producer here at Goddard Space Flight Center

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and will be moderating the conversation. So with that, let's jump

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right into it - what exactly are we looking at?

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What we're looking at is the abundance of plants on land and in the ocean

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and in the ocean we're looking at microscopic plants called phytoplankton

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on the land its sort of an aggregate of all vegetation.

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But they breathe, they

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they respire and the follow the sun in terms of their seasons

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Can you describe the changes that happened in twenty years since this data

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set first began?

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Yeah, as crazy as it sounds, even though we have twenty of data

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we're still at a point of - in my mind - just the wonder

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of it. I could just sit and watch this for hours.

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And for me, I've got look at it two different ways. One is just to take

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a big step back, and look at the world as whole

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Don't focus on anything in particular, but just - what am I seeing?

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What are the patterns that I'm seeing? And the main thing

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is that there's this seasonal cycle moving north

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and south. The land and the ocean

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the both bloom with the rising sun.

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If you just set back and watch it you'll see this wave of green

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move north and south with the sun.

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Back and forth, and you see that

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so dramatically in this visualization.

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And Gene and I have been studying this for a long time using satellite data

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But what's really cool for us is that you see it for the oceans as well as the land

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Yeah, which we never saw before the satellites

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Is that what makes this viz so special?

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that we have that really shows the biological response

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to environmental change. We have we all these other instruments

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that measure how the Earth changes, what the temperature,

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the winds, the currents, rainfall - things like that. We have

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all of that. But this data set shows what does the Earth's

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biology do in response to that environmental change

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And think that's one strengths of the SVS is being able to show that data

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in a way that a normal, average person can respond to.

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And we you've been able to do, Alex, is you make it beautiful.

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It is very attractive.

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We're looking at the Living Earth, we're looking at our home planet

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change day in and day out

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and there's a visceral connection that we have to this

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home of ours.

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We know, there's only planet we know that has

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and active biosphere, or a biosphere, and that's our

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planet. We know from the Hubble Space Telescope there are one to two trillion

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galaxies in the universe - galaxies - and this

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only planet that we know which as life, and its very special and its very

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dear and this representation to me, captures that.

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I mean, on my part, I mean really the challenge here was kinda

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wrangling all this twenty years worth of data

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so I mean, you guys did an amazing job at collecting

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it all, and creating

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data sets that can be easily be used together. I mean with the biosphere

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its primarily SeaWIFS, VIIRS

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Aqua, is it Aqua? Modis - yeah

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You look at this image and there's so much here that

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we still don't understand.

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I agree with Gene. We're looking at the consequence

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of instruments on satellites not looking away from Earth, but

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looking at Earth through time, how thing change, how things

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vary or don't. It's just fascinating to look at

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and its so dynamic and this is what's great about time series

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Well that's one of the thoughts I had was that the people in this room right now

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if you ask yourself the question, "What have I done to make sure

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that the Earth is a healthier and safer place?", I think the people in this room

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can fairly say that they've done quite a lot in collecting

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the data and then creating the data a in a way people can understand it

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there's no distinction between land science and ocean science

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It's one world, one planet, one home

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This is our Living Planet.

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Exactly, and the more we as humans

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on this planet, inhabitants of the planet, look as this as

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one entity that we are all responsible for, I think

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I think the sooner we will be able to come up with solutions to a lot of the problems

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that we're facing right now. We have to look at this as one planet

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where what happens in place effects what happens in another place

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One planet, one climate, one people

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we're all in this together.