Understanding the complex, changing planet on which we live, how it supports life, and how human activities affect its ability to do so in the future is one of the greatest intellectual challenges facing humanity. It is also one of the most important challenges for society as it seeks to achieve prosperity, health, and sustainability.
If the nation’s commitment to continue Earth observations from space is renewed, we have seen just the beginning of an era of Earth observations from space, and a report in 50 years will be able to highlight many more valuable scientific achievements and discoveries.
Conclusion 7: Over the past 50 years, space observations of the Earth have accelerated the cross-disciplinary integration of analysis, interpretation, and, ultimately, our understanding of the dynamic processes that govern the planet. Given this momentum, the next decades will bring more remarkable discoveries and the capability to predict Earth processes, critical to protect human lives and property. However, the nation’s commitment to Earth satellite missions must be renewed to realize the potential of this fertile area of science.