456 pages | 8 1/2 x 11
Natural and human-induced changes in Earth's interior, land surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans affect all aspects of life. Understanding these changes requires a range of observations acquired from land-, sea-, air-, and space-based platforms. To assist NASA, NOAA, and USGS in developing these tools, the NRC was asked to carry out a "decadal strategy" survey of Earth science and applications from space that would develop the key scientific questions on which to focus Earth and environmental observations in the period 2005-2015 and beyond, and present a prioritized list of space programs, missions, and supporting activities to address these questions. This report presents a vision for the Earth science program; an analysis of the existing Earth Observing System and recommendations to help restore its capabilities; an assessment of and recommendations for new observations and missions for the next decade; an examination of and recommendations for effective application of those observations; and an analysis of how best to sustain that observation and applications system.