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Tiny plants called phytoplankton grow in the sunlit waters of the ocean's surface. Like all plants, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that transforms sunlight into energy the plant can use. This same pigment gives phytoplankton their greenish color.

One of the key "vital signs" of Earth's vegetation is the total green leaf area for a given ground area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites collects global Leaf Area Index (LAI) data on a daily basis.

We often take the Biosphere for granted and as the climate changes, plant species and ecosystems respond by adapting, migrating or reducing their population.  Why is this important?  The plants of the Biosphere feed us, clothe us, absorb carbon dioxide, provide us with oxygen,

Students are introduced to the Earthrise phenomenon by seeing the Earth as the Apollo 8 astronauts viewed our home planet for the first time from the Moon.  They will analyze a time series of mapped plots of Earth science variables that NASA monitors to better understand the Earth Syste

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