Mission to Planet Earth Enterprise

NASA's Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE) is dedicated to understanding the total Earth system and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the global environment. The MTPE Enterprise is pioneering the new discipline of Earth system science, with a near-term emphasis on global climate change. Space-based and in situ capabilities presently being used or developed yield new scientific understanding and practical benefits to the Nation. Today's program is laying the foundation for long-term environment and climate monitoring and prediction.

To preserve and improve the Earth's environment for future generations, governments around the world need policies based on the strongest possible scientific understanding. Commercial firms, natural resource managers, and educators rely on a dependable stream of this same new knowledge. The unique vantage point of space provides information about the Earth's land, atmosphere, ice, oceans, and biota that is obtainable in no other way. In concert with the global research community, including the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the other agencies of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and our counterpart agencies in other nations, the MTPE Enterprise is developing the understanding needed to support the complex environmental policy and economic investment decisions that lie ahead.

a graphical illustration of the Mission to Planet Earth's Goals as described below.

The following are goals of the MTPE Enterprise:

To accomplish these goals, the MTPE Enterprise employs a strategy that establishes science priorities with near-term product milestones on a path of long-term inquiry, develops advanced technologies that lead to new and lower cost scientific investigations, promotes extensive international collaboration and cooperation with other Federal agencies, contributes to national and international assessments of the environment, fosters the commercial use and provision of remote-sensing data, and strengthens environmental education and public awareness.

MTPE science priorities through 2002 provide near-term benefits as well as lay the foundation for a long-term effort in basic research and are as follows:

A satellite orbiting the earth with Goddard Space Flight Center providing Earth System Science support and Langley Research Center providing Atmospheric Science support.

GSFC and LaRC have primary missions to support the MTPE Enterprise in the areas shown in the figure to the right. Other Centers support GSFC and LaRC in achieving the goals of the MTPE Enterprise. The detailed roles of the Centers supporting MTPE are presented in the plans of the Enterprise.

Through 2002, MTPE will deploy the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and the first series of the Earth Observing System missions, including Landsat 7. This period will also see the first launches of Earth System Science Pathfinder small satellite missions for new science and of New Millennium program missions for Earth science instrument technology development.

The ultimate beneficiaries of MTPE are the present and future generations of people on the Earth. The primary customers are researchers seeking answers to key Earth science questions, commercial firms using MTPE data and technology to expand their businesses, public-sector managers exercising stewardship of our natural resources, and educators teaching the next generation of scientists, engineers, and citizens. The outcome is the major contribution to the scientific foundation for sustainable development.

weather satellite photo of Hurricane Andrew Mission to Planet Earth will help scientists better predict weather patterns leading to drought, floods, or killer storms, such as Hurricane Andrew, which slammed into Florida, Lousiana, and Mississippi in August 1992.

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