Sunday, March 23, 2014

NASA Observes World Water Day

On March 22, NASA will observe World Water Day. While our home planet is about 71 percent water, only 3 percent of that is available as fresh water. And many people do not have access to safe and clean water sources. On a water planet like Earth, "following the water" is a massive undertaking but one that is essential to predicting the future of our climate and the availability of water resources around the globe.
NASA’s research yields many benefits, including improved environmental prediction, as well as natural hazard and climate change preparedness. And NASA technology developed to keep astronauts safe and healthy in space benefits people on the ground, through new ways to monitor water resources and purify water for safe use.
Water is a critical piece of life on the International Space Station. Almost all the water used and produced by the astronauts is recycled – the Environmental Control Life Support System recycles about 93 percent of the water it receives. And NASA is continuing to improve the way it uses and recycles water in order to prepare for future long duration space exploration missions to an asteroid and Mars.
That same technology is now being used in humanitarian efforts to provide clean water to people following natural disasters and in other areas of the world where safe drinking water is not available.

Here on Earth, global change will impact many aspects of society, including global water resources, food security, human health, natural hazards, ecodiversity, and international relations. NASA people and science are working to document and understand changes on our planet, predict their ramifications, and share that information with decision makers to better analyze, anticipate, and act to influence events that will affect us and future generations.
In 2014, for the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth Science missions will be launched into space in one year. Together with NASA's existing fleet of satellites, airborne missions, and researchers, these new missions will help answer some of the critical challenges facing our planet today and in the future: climate change, sea level rise, freshwater resources, and extreme weather events.