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Earth Explorer or Space Explorer?

As an Earth scientist and former astronaut, Piers Sellers is both!

Originally from the United Kingdom, Dr. Piers Sellers joined NASA as an Earth scientist in the 1980s. The interaction between the biosphere and atmosphere was one of the Earth mysteries that he began exploring. Years later, he joined the astronaut corps and flew on three missions to the International Space Station. Now back at NASA, Piers is the deputy director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate at the Goddard Space Flight Center. (Image source: NASA Human Space Flight Gallery

He recently sat down with us to talk about his incredible career, the importance of satellites and maps in the study of our planet, and what is like for an Earth scientist to see the planet from orbit.

“The science of Earth science is really good, interesting stuff; it’s intellectually fabulous. But it’s also very important,” he says during the interview, “it’s really important for…the future of the 7 billion – soon to be 10 billion people – living on this planet. So as an Earth scientist, you are really helping.”

Watch this three-minute clip where Piers talks about how scientists use maps to understand and communicate Earth science news and discoveries. Visit our new video page to watch the full-length version.

Want to learn more from Piers? Watch this NASA GLOBE presentation during which he walks us through how to launch a satellite, using his favorite satellite series – Landsat – as an example.

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