Perspectives on a changing planet: The role of space in shaping and informing our views of the world

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium


Dr. Waleed Abdalati

Chief Scientist, NASA

Waleed Abdalati



Thursday, November 1, 2012


1:30 P.M.


McDonnell Douglas Auditorium

University of California, Irvine


Perspectives on a changing planet: The role of space in shaping and informing our views of the world


With the 1968 "Earthrise" image of planet Earth emerging from beyond the lunar horizon, society's view of our celestial home was changed forever. Beautiful and vulnerable, and suspended in dark stillness, this image inspired an appreciation that we are one human race, whose fate hinges delicately on our collective actions. Since that time, space- based observations of the Earth have continued to provide essential insights and information across the full spectrum of natural processes and human activities, and have even become a mainstream part of our daily lives. From documenting disappearing Arctic ice cover, to providing key insights to hurricane evolution, to tracking the amount of movement and cycles of Earth's biomass, these observations allow us to understand how and why our world is changing, and what these changes mean for life on Earth. This presentation will focus on! the tremendous power of the space-based perspective in science, exploration, and our daily lives, and the role that this information can play in positioning civilization for success in the face of a changing environment.


Not Required

About the speaker:

Waleed Abdalati

Dr. Waleed Abdalati was appointed NASA chief scientist in January 2011, and serves as the principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on agency science programs, strategic planning, and the evaluation of related investments. This appointment marks a return to NASA for Dr. Abdalati, where he worked in the field of Earth science from 1996-2008. His research has focused on the use of satellites and aircraft to understand how and why Earth's ice cover is changing, and what those changes mean for life on our planet. He is currently on leave from the University of Colorado, where he has served as the director of the Earth Science and Observation Center in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences since 2008.

Dr. Adalati's full-length biography is available at:

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